Econintersect: At the beginning of the month, as well as the middle of March, GEI News reported on the removal of Chongqing mayor and Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai (pictured) and his allies who have have been outspoken on behalf of traditional communist ideals, including the Cultural Revolution of Mao Zedung, as well as successful campaigners against corruption. At that time there were questions about the mysterious death of Neil Heywood, a British citizen who was, along with his Chinese wife, was closely and personally associated with Bo Xilai’s family. However, they were simply shadowy rumors at the time. Last week China state media announced that Gu Kailai, Bo’s wife, had been arrested, along with a family employee, on suspicion of murdering Heywood.
Here is what Wikipedia says about Heywood:
He ran a company named Heywood Boddington Associates, registered at his mother’s house in London. It claims to be “a multi-discipline consultancy focusing on serving the interests of UK businesses in the People’s Republic of China”.
Businessmen have complained that any foreign company wishing to work in Chongqing had to appoint Gu Kailai’s law firm to act on its behalf, failing which it could not get required permissions and licenses. The law firm, Kailai Law (now Beijing Ang-dao Law), is said to have charged exorbitant fees.
Heywood had clients including Beijing Martin dealerships and Rolls-Royce. He was hired occasionally by Hakluyt & Company, a consultancy firm co-founded by a former officer in Britain’s MI6 intelligence service.
The Mirror has suggested that Heywood had been having a love affair with Gu and had a falling out just before he died. The same report also said that Heywood may have helped Gu “siphon” £800 million overseas.
Pictured below are Gu Kailai and her husband Bo Xilai in an undated photo.
It has also been suggested that Heywood might have been a spy (ITV News).
A timeline of the entire episode of the fall of Bo Xilai has been published by The Guardian.
- China: Has There Been a Coup of a Coup? (GEI News, 1 April 2012)
- China Leadership Purge: Maoists Out, Liberals In (Econintersect Staff, GEI News, 16 March, 2012)
- Chinese police seek blogger who revealed death of Neil Heywood (Tania Branigan, The Guardian, 14 April 2012)
- Bo Xilai’s fall from grace – timeline (Tania Branigan, The Guardian, 12 April 2012)
- Was Neil Walker a spy? (Angus Walker, ITV News, 29 March)