The Daily Twit – 8/20/12: There Once Was a Woman Named Gu

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Today was billed as a BIG NEWS day, when we’d all get to hear the verdict in the Gu Kailai murder trial. Everyone already knew what it was going to be, but like the sheep we all were, that didn’t matter. It’s news, damnit! Pay attention!

As a result, the “news” itself was underwhelming, and since no one was paying attention to anything else today, there’s nothing else to talk about. Funky.

So anyway, the verdict was a suspended death sentence. Of course. If you’re unfamiliar with Chinese criminal law, that basically means that she was given the death penalty, but it’s commuted to a life sentence as long as she doesn’t poison to death any other people in the next few years.

I’ll give you a couple links, but honestly, there’s nothing much exciting to read about this. The best thing I’ve seen thus far is this bit of doggerel from @twitmericks (h/t Melissa Chan)

There once was a woman named Gu
Whose husband was fired in a coup
The party man’s wife
Is now doing life
And there isn’t a lot Bo can do.

Pretty much says it all.

But if that’s not enough for you:

Guardian: Gu Kailai given suspended death sentence over Heywood murder — your basic news report, although at this point, you already know the punchline.

Chinese Law Prof Blog: How much time will Gu Kailai actually have to serve under Chinese law? — Prof Don Clarke with some criminal law background for you wonks out there.

China Law & Policy: The Trial of Gu Kailai – Did the CCP Bite Itself in the Butt? — Elizabeth Lynch muses on the big picture.

NBC News: With wife’s conviction, what is next for China’s Bo Xilai?

So yeah. The only actual news out there today concerns the clusterfuck that is the South China Sea dispute, specifically the idiot nationalists in Japan and China who are making things worse. Here’s the latest:

Wall Street Journal: China Conflicted Over Anti-Japan Protests — the stupid, it hurts.

Caijing: Anti-Japan Protests Held in Over 10 Chinese cities — disturbing pics.

Some other stuff:

Global Times: Deaths in custody — Pilot program concerning treatment of prisoners. I think the idea here is to avoid those situations where prisoners mysteriously wind up dead from “drinking hot water” or “playing hide and seek.”

Xinhua: Addresses avoiding unlucky figures forbidden — Rather amazing. The Beijing government says it will not approve building plans that call, for example, for skipping floors with “unlucky” numbers, like four, thirteen, fourteen, etc. Somehow I have a feeling this will only be enforced against private projects, not government buildings.

2 responses on “The Daily Twit – 8/20/12: There Once Was a Woman Named Gu

    1. ST

      The Chinese media reporting of her surname does say it all.

      Traditionally, only female nobles were given both a name and a surname. Ordinary Chinese women were not given names, just a surname. When women married they took their husband’s surname. Under the CCP all women were given a name and after marriage kept their own surname. There is therefore no historical basis for the usage. A friend told me the reason for Bogu is that a directive was sent to Chinese newspapers mandating that “Bogu” (博谷) be used. Whilst the directive is not strange, the use of two surnames is.

      Another point is that foreigners’ names are generally given Chinese alliterations in newspapers. For example: 奥巴马 (Obama). All reporting of Neil Heywood’s name, however, missed a syllable and used 伍德 (Wood). In the British Embassy statement yesterday the extra character was used: 海伍德 (Heywood)。However, the Chinese media continued to use “Wude”, which also sounds like the Chinese for “No morals” (无德).

      Thus, Gu Kailai was given an extra character, and Heywood lost a character. The additional character in Gu’s name was that of her husband. This points to the importance of Gu’s husband, it also shows at best the insignificance of “Wood”, or a further attempt to pass blame to someone without morals who threatened Bogu’s son. The use of “Bo” before Gu was so that nobody could forget who Gu Kailai’s husband was and ensure that Bo Xilai was implicated in everyone’s minds.