Med Bo Xilais afgang er den politiske magtkamp brudt ud i lys lue. Det er den største ideologiske kamp i Kina i to årtier, der handler om den politiske og økonomiske kurs for Kina i de kommende år, og hvem der skal stå i spidsen for landet i det næste årti. Du kan læse alle tidligere artikler om magtkampen og Bo Xilai her.
Wall Street Journal, der først skrev om, hvordan Wang Lijun havde sat Bo Xilai i forbindelse med Neil Heywoods død, fortæller i dag hvordan den britiske forretningsmand og konsulent blandt andet arbejdede for Hakluyt & Co, der er grundlagt af tidligere agenter for MI6.
The revelation adds a layer of intrigue to the scandal, which increasingly appears to mix the worlds of international diplomacy and corporate sleuthing with China’s shadowy domestic security apparatus and opaque politics.
The new revelation about Mr. Heywood’s work with Hakluyt suggests he might have been engaged in activities that are considered highly sensitive—and sometimes dangerous—in China.
Gathering business intelligence and investigating Chinese firms is a growing industry here, and inevitably those engaged in it often delve into issues of corruption, nepotism and vested bureaucratic interests.
News on Mr. Heywood and his connections to the Bo family has been eagerly devoured by a Chinese public that knows little about the personal lives of its top leaders. At the same time, there has been spreading disquiet as details in the Bo case add to the sense of a drama spinning beyond control. The nervousness is heightened by absence of news on the whereabouts of Mr. Bo and his family.
The addition of a foreigner—a well-mannered Englishman with a politically connected Chinese wife—to the Bo story has added spice to the rumor mill.
A spokesman for Hakluyt said Mr. Heywood had been providing the company with services on a case-by-case basis for some time, without specifying exactly how long. Hakluyt was founded by former officers with the British intelligence service MI6.
Financial Times fortæller om, hvordan Wang Lijun tog til det amerikanske konsulat i Chengdu og præsenterede amerikanerne for beviser på, at Bo Xilai var indblandet i mordet. FT kommer også med detaljer om Heywoods forbindelser til familien Bo og sønnen Guagua.
An ex-pupil of Harrow between 1984 and 1988, the school Mr Bo’s son Bo Guagua attended in the UK, Mr Heywood drove a “nice old Jaguar” and an Aston Martin and was usually dressed well with impeccable manners, these people said. He was 41 when he died, according to the Harrow Association.
Bo Guagua met him often in the UK and China and had met him for a drink last summer when they had planned to go sailing together, according to someone familiar with the matter.
Mr Heywood was regarded as a “nice guy” although not especially ambitious.
People who did business with him described Mr Heywood as a small business consultant in Dalian, before he moved to Beijing a few years ago.
In Beijing he was introduced to people as a “deal-broker and independent consultant” who held some non-executive board member positions in China but he was “rather a mysterious figure”, according to people who met him through business circles.
Mr Heywood’s widow is also originally from Dalian and they have two young children under the age of 10.
Guardian har talt med en bekendt til Heywood, der også sætter spørgsmålstegn ved, hvordan en afholdsmand kunne dø af alkoholforgiftning.
At the time Chinese officials blamed Heywood’s death on excessive alcohol consumption. His body was reportedly cremated before a postmortem examination could be performed. But people who knew the consultant said he did not appear to be a heavy drinker.
“I was stunned when I heard [of Heywood’s death]; he was 41,” said one acquaintance, who had seen him a few months before. “He seemed terribly healthy. It sounded strange to me at the time, and even more so now.”
Heywood appears to have met Bo’s family when he lived in Dalian, where Bo was in charge before moving to Chongqing. He told people he had helped Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, to arrange for their son Bo Guagua to go to Harrow, where he himself was schooled.
“He did do work in Chongqing, and did have some links with the Bo family,” said the acquaintance. “I had heard the Bo link had cooled with him and he didn’t do much in Chongqing.”
Los Angeles Times antyder at Heywood flaksede mellem forskellige opgaver og jobs.
Heywood appeared to flit from job to job in China, where he had lived for more than a decade. He was photographed wearing a beige linen suit and green tie at a luxury goods conference where he was described as working for the car company Aston Martin. He also worked briefly as an advisor for a company doing initial public offerings of stock.
“He walked into our office one day, presenting himself as a consultant. He claimed he had done a few projects helping Chinese companies do IPOs abroad,” said Shen Wei, who runs Beijing HL Consulting Co., which used to list Heywood as one of its advisors. Shen said Heywood never ended up doing any deals with the company and that it learned of his death only recently.
Telegraph skriver også, at Heywood ikke var kendt i det britiske forretningsmiljø i Kina, selvom han havde boet her i over ti år. Og at han nok arbejdede som en “hvid handske,” altså en vesterlænding der er mellemmand mellem kinesiske og vestlige forbindelser.
To add to the confusion, the Foreign Office refused to confirm Mr Heywood’s age or occupation, the date of his death, the location, or whether his family had asked for a new investigation. No record of Mr Heywood could be found at any of Chongqing’s major hotels, and he was little known among the relatively small British business community.
What happened has been kept “tightly under wraps,” said a British businessman in Chongqing who declined to be named. One China expert, who again asked not to be named, said Mr Heywood had spent more than a decade in China, spoke Chinese, and had claimed links to Mr Bo, being able, at one point, to arrange meetings with him when he was the commerce minister.
Rupert Hoogewerf, the founder of the Hurun Rich List, said he had contact with Mr Heywood on Nov 1, at a rowing regatta in Beijing. At that point, Mr Heywood was representing Aston Martin. However, the first Aston Martin dealership in Chongqing, which opens in October, said it had no recollection of him.
Mr Heywood also appears to have worked for Hualing Consulting, a firm based in Liaoning. It described him on its website as a “long term China hand”, an adviser to “large Western pension funds”. Shen Wei, the company’s chief executive, said he had not heard of Mr Heywood’s death. “I was very surprised. The last time I saw him he was very healthy,” he said.
Reuters har dækket sagen tæt, og i sidste uge citerede de anonyme kilder for, at Bo Xilai og Wang Lijun var raget uklar med hinanden på grund af en sag om korruption, der involverede Bo’s hustru og familie.
Distrust had been mounting between the two, according to a former official who said he has often met Bo and his family. “Relations between Bo and Wang began to really sour in January, but it was a process deepening over months.”
Bo “forced Wang Lijun out of his police uniform, which made him fall into even deeper despair and panic about his future. At the very least, it looked dictatorial and arbitrary. It made a bad relationship much worse,” the former official said.
Days before the demotion, Wang had confronted Bo over a criminal investigation touching on Bo’s family, including his wife Gu Kailai, and that a task force had been assembled to handle the case, two former officials said.
“It was because of this special case group that relations finally snapped,” said the first retired official.
Talk spread among Chongqing officials of furious shouting between Bo and Wang, and even of Bo slapping his long-time ally, a city official said.
“Bo felt Wang Lijun was using this (case) to take him hostage,” said an editor in Beijing who said he heard about the episode from central government officials. “Bo was furious and then he decided to adjust Wang’s position to protect himself.”