This story is a Chinese Agatha Christie style murder mystery Cluedo on crack.
The backdrop to this tale of political intrigue is Chongqing, (think Gotham with dumplings) – an overpopulated, murky, fogged up city run by corrupt gangsters and even more corrupt officials.
In November of last year a 41 year old British ‘businessman‘ Neil Heywood was found dead in a hotel room and was swiftly cremated, with the official verdict being that he had drunk himself to death. Only Neil Heywood didn’t drink. Heywood was a Mandarin speaking ex public school (Harrow) businessman, Aston Martin dealer and freelance consultant for ‘intelligence’ agency Hakluyt, who seem to be rapidly distancing themselves from the story.
The death of Mr Heyman is one of the key events in the drama of the downfall of the Communist Party chief in Chongqing, Bo Xilai.
Bo had it all. Just a year ago, he was tipped to be one of the new leaders of China and now his political career is in ruins and his wife is being accused of murder. Bo was one of the rising stars of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and was lauded for his stints as Mayor in Dalian, Governor of Liaoniang and party chief of Chongqing. However, his stellar career has come crashing down after he was suspended from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) after his head of police, Wang Lijun was accused of trying to defect to the US at their consulate in Chengdu. Reports have suggested that Wang discussed the death of Heywood with Bo and suspected foul play. Then in a frightened state he tried to seek refuge from Mr Bo by defecting to the West. An article supposedly penned by Wang referred to Bo as the ‘greatest gangster in China’
Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai has been ‘transferred to the judicial authorities’ in relation to death of Mr Heywood. The relationship between Heywood and Bo is not fully clear. It has been reported that he was a ‘fixer’ for Bo’s family and helped his son gain a place at Harrow school in north west London. Whether the relationship between Bo, Gu and Heywood turned sour or not is unclear.
Bo made a name for himself in Chongqing with his no-nonsense approach to corruption and organized crime. Did he broke a few eggs too many in trying to make his omelette of Chinese power? Over the course of a few months he has gone from hot prospect to hot potato and has been dismissed from the Politburo and is now being investigated for “serious discipline violations”
This is being reported as one of the most significant political upheavals in China for 20 years . The British government have added their approval to the ongoing investigations into Heywood’s death. The reactions on the Chinese blogosphere are also interesting to note. In the censored and monitored world of the Chinese internet Chinese netizens often find their freedom to use language as they please is suppressed so they invent nicknames for people and events to make sure they can still talk about what is going on. In the internal struggles to remove Bo and Zhou Yongkang from power, bloggers reported the following:
In the 18th tugging war contest (18th National Congress) the “carrot ball” (Hu Jintao) led his team members “antenna baby” (Wen Jiabao), ‘learning machine” (Xi Jinping) and “wood seed” (Li Keqiang) to win against their rivals “Master Kong beef noodle” (Zhou Yongkang) who severely lost the game without support from “Tomato” (Bo Xilai).
The drama continues….