Photo: Sky News Screenshot
The death of Neil Heywood, a British businessman who worked in China, was the spark that brought down Chinese leader Bo Xilai and his wife, Gui Kalai.The official version goes something like this — Heywood, angry with a business deal that went sour, had at some point threatened Bo and Gu’s son, Bo Guagua. Gu, in a fit of motherly rage, later invited him to a hotel on the outskirts of Chongqing and poisoned him. The problem with this story is that key aspects of it seem a little odd, and unfortunately the Chinese justice system wasn’t prepared to put it to the test.
Now the Wall Street Journal‘s Jeremy Page has come forward a bombshell investigation that states Heywood may have been — in some capacity — a spy.
Page spoke to friends and family of Heywood and a number British officials and was able to ascertain that Heywood had been providing information on Bo Xilai and his wife to the British intelligence services, who were particularly interested in learning about the private lives of Chinese leaders (considered a state secret in the country).
Incredibly, the MI6 contact who spoke to Heywood warned him “not to become a headline” as things between him and Gu became tense. Gu even apparently admitted later that she had “”killed a spy”.
Page’s article is especially surprising given that the British government had specifically said Heywood was not working for them (technically true, but certainly a bit disingenuous). Heywood is known to have had some links to a private intelligence group, and apparently had the licence plate “007” on his Jaguar car.
The British government also apparently took little interest in Heywood’s death when it happened last year, accepting the official account (that Heywood, a light drinker, drank himself to death) and letting his body be swiftly cremated by Chinese officials.
The British Embassy in China has refused to comment on the new allegations.
UPDATE: The New York Times adds it’s take on the news, reporting that two sources close to Chinese state security say that Heywood was officially on a list of suspected spies.
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