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From The Gu Kailai Trial To The Pussy Riot Scandal At China Happy Hour

(August 19, 2012, New York) Show trials are not what they used to be. John Foley writes for Reuters Breakingviews that China's hurried murder conviction for politician's wife Gu Kailai and Russia's imprisonment of punk protesters Pussy Riot were both slightly farcical and deeply symbolic. The guilty verdicts were the same, but investors are likely to draw different conclusions.

Gu's conviction looks like a victory for stability at the top of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, at least in the short term. The tough sentence on Gu pretty much stifles Bo's political ambitions, even if the former leader of Chongqing receives no punishments beyond the loss of his party posts. A smooth transition to the next generation of leaders looks more likely. Investors will be relieved. They are more concerned with the maintenance of political calm in China than with the establishment of a solid rule of law. That is a worry for another time.

In Russia, it's different. The low quality of the legal system is a big and current investor concern, as are the autocratic tendencies of President Vladimir Putin. Friday's two-year prison sentences for three members of Pussy Riot will reinforce the worries. The protester-singers were convicted of hooliganism for interrupting a church service with an anti-Putin performance. The harsh penalty shows that it is dangerous to cross Putin in any domain.

Financial flows show what investors think. Yes, China's foreign investment has leveled off since 2011, but at around $114 billion over the past twelve months, according to Credit Suisse, it is still close to the highest in a decade. Russia, on the other hand, saw capital outflows of around $81 billion in 2011, twice the previous year's figure. The courts have pronounced, but the markets judge for themselves.

This month, Golden Networking's China Happy Hour (http://www.ChinaHappyHour.com) will invite a number of journalists who have followed the trial, conviction and suspended death sentence of Gu Kailai, the wife of purged Chinese leader Bo Xilai, in close detail, for the panel "The Gu Kailai Trial" moderated by its founder Edgar Perez. There will be time afterwards for Q&A and the best China networking in New York City.

China Happy Hour will be held Tuesday August 28th, 6PM; these receptions have been known to attract executives and professionals not only from China but also from South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, and India, among other nationalities.

China Happy Hour New York City, featured in The New York Times, is produced by Golden Networking (http://www.goldennetworking.net), the premier networking community for business executives, entrepreneurs and investors. Panelists, speakers and sponsors are invited to contact Golden Networking by sending an email to info@goldennetworking.net.