Thursday, 12 April 2012

Wife said to be holding foreign passport

Being a murder suspect may not be the only trouble for Madam Gu Kailai, 53, wife of purged Chinese leader Bo Xilai.

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Guanyu 道 said...

Wife said to be holding foreign passport

By Peh Shing Huei
12 April 2012

Being a murder suspect may not be the only trouble for Madam Gu Kailai, 53, wife of purged Chinese leader Bo Xilai.

A day after she was named a prime suspect in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, there were strong hints that she could also be charged with illegal transfers of cash overseas and holding a foreign passport.

People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), ran an article yesterday lambasting ‘some people’ for sending ill-gotten gains out of the country and secretly obtaining foreign citizenship or dual citizenship. China, like Singapore, does not allow dual citizenship.

The news came after an unusual reference to her in a Xinhua dispatch on Tuesday. The state news agency used the name ‘Bogu Kailai’, combining her husband’s surname with hers.

Such double-barrelled surnames were popular in China in the first half of the 20th century, but were rarely used after the communists took over.

It remains common to refer to married women in Hong Kong by such dual family names. Some overseas Chinese, including some in Singapore, do so too.

Xinhua’s reference is seen by analysts as an indication that Madam Gu possibly holds a foreign passport under the name ‘Bogu Kailai’.

‘It is really rare in China to use such names,’ said Peking University political analyst Zhang Jian. ‘It is probable that she has a foreign passport. Most of the family members of these high-ranking officials are known to hold more than one passport.’

Netizens have jumped into the debate, with some overseas Chinese websites reporting that Madam Gu has at least a Hong Kong identity card and Singapore permanent residency.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore would not confirm whether Madam Gu is a Singapore PR, saying ‘the information that you asked for is not available for release’.

If true, it will add to the woes of a woman who was hardly known in China until this scandal involving her famous and powerful husband.

Although her father Gu Jingsheng was a communist general renowned for fighting Japanese invaders in the 1930s, she has kept a low profile, in line with the practice of the spouses of China’s top leaders.

She studied law at the prestigious Peking University before starting her own firm, called Kailai in Chinese and the Law Office of Horus L. Kai in English.

Madam Gu, who is Mr Bo’s second wife, uses the name Horus Kai when she is overseas, after the Egyptian god of war and protection.

She was also believed to be part of a consultancy named Horas, which advised clients wanting to do business in China as its economy exploded in the 1990s.

Madam Gu, who is fluent in English, has written a book about her legal battles in the US titled Winning A Lawsuit In The United States.

But when Mr Bo met reporters last month in Beijing, he said she had quit her law practice two decades ago and is now a housewife.

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