On August 11, Ann Heywood, the mother of murdered British businessman Neil Heywood, issued a statement that appeared in the Wall Street Journal. ("The full text of a statement," according to WSJ.) "Given the circumstances of Neil's murder, I have been surprised and disappointed that, despite repeated discreet approaches to the Chinese authorities, there has been no substantive or practical response," she wrote. (It was then reported that the family was asking for $5 million in compensation.)
With each day that we still wait for the trial of Bo Xilai to begin, it becomes a little easier to forget what this is all about. Politics, economics, how it affects Xi Jinping's reforms, and shuanggui, yes, all very interesting, but at the heart of the matter is a murder -- the poisoning of British businessman Neil Heywood -- and a high-level cover-up that has already resulted in two people -- former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun and Bo Xilai consort Gu Kailai -- being given (essentially) 15-year sentences.
The Sunday Times, in its now-famous (or infamous) piece on Neil Heywood (still paywalled, but it's here if you want to purchase), alluded to a certain Channel 4 documentary on the man. Quote: "After a year-long investigation for Channel 4's Dispatches, based on numerous conversations with friends, business colleagues, diplomatic sources and a Chinese contact who knew both Heywood and the Bo family intimately, we can reveal the real Neil Heywood."
In a 3,600-word piece, Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy of Britain’s The Sunday Times lay bare the myth of Neil Heywood. They argue that far from being an intrepid power broker living astutely within the inner circles of China’s elite, the murdered Briton was a “failed businessman,” a “chancer,” an “irritant,” and a liar who... Read more »
Neil Heywood was likely feeding information to British intelligence officers while in the inner circle of Bo Xilai, according to Jeremy Page of the Wall Street Journal. From the very beginning of this saga, we’ve known that Heywood — poisoned by Gu Kailai, as the consensus goes — has been connected to MI6, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service,... Read more »
In the most non-suspenseful verdict ever, a court in Hefei, Anhui province (read: the Party) has officially sentenced Gu Kailai to “death with a two-year reprieve” for murdering Neil Heywood, as expected. What this means is that Gu will not be put to death, assuming she doesn’t commit another crime in the next two years.... Read more »
Donald C. Clarke, professor of law at George Washington University, recently translated an account of the Gu Kailai trial and posted it on his website, Chinese Law Prof Blog. The account was written in Chinese by Zhao Xiangcha, titled, “A Record of my Observation of the Murder Trial of BoGu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun.” Zhao notes... Read more »
If you were counting, the “trial” lasted all of a few hours, ending just now with Gu Kailai not contesting the charge that she murdered British businessman Neil Heywood. So much for transparency of law. Did we learn anything from this process? Gu was never going to win their game, so she didn’t play. A date... Read more »
Just look at her. That face. In a snap it could transform into a teeth-baring devil or a demurring tigress. Few people in the world could command attention like so — indeed, demand it by simply biting down so that her cheeks — much like her glare — lock into place. She is the type... Read more »