Two partners at Beijing-based DeHeng Law Offices have been retained as defense lawyers for former Chinese Communist Party official Bo Xilai on his corruption trial.
Assistants to Li Guifang and Wang Zhaofeng confirmed that the two DeHeng partners had been hired for the defense, but Li and Wang could not be reached for comment. Their retention has been reported by other media including The New York Times and South China Morning Post.
A former Politburo member, Chongqing party chief, and all-around rising political star in China, Bo fell from grace last year after a top deputy sought refuge in the U.S. over the death of British businessman Neil Heywood. Later in the year, Bo’s wife, former lawyer Gu Kailai, was convicted of Heywood’s murder and given a suspended death sentence. The scandal broke amid the country’s once-a-decade leadership transition, and focused attention on corruption among top party officials.
According to DeHeng’s website, Li specializes in disputes resolution but also advises on corporate deals, contract law, anti-dumping and intellectual property matters. He is the deputy director of criminal defense committee of the All China Lawyers’ Association, China’s state-run national bar association.
Wang is a litigator who also acts on real estate, construction law, labor law and intellectual property-related matters.
DeHeng, not to be mistaken for the similarly named Deheng Law Firm, is one of China’s largest law firms. It has more than 640 lawyers working across 14 national and 15 overseas offices. According to the firm’s website, DeHeng last year established a Communist Party unit, in which Li is deputy secretary.