From left: Gu Kailai, her husband Bo Xilai, and British businessman Neil Heywood. A fresh theory suggests Gu was having an affair with Heywood before his death. (Internet photo)
A new theory has emerged that the death of British businessman Neil Heywood may have been orchestrated by Bo Xilai, after the discovery that his wife had been having an affair with the British businessman, reported Boxun News, a citizen journalism site that is sourced mostly by anonymous users and frequently makes claims that are difficult to prove.
Wild rumors have continued to circulate over what exactly caused the ouster of disgraced former Chongqing Communist Party secretary Bo Xilai last month, and the attempted US defection of his former police chief Wang Lijun the month before. In recent weeks, the death of Neil Heywood, a British businessman with alleged ties to the Bo family, was linked to the mystery by both Chinese and international media, with sources claiming that it was Bo's anger over Wang's investigation into Heywood's unusual death that provided the flash point for China's biggest political story since the Tiananmen Square violence of 1989.
Despite denials from Heywood's family that he had any business dealings with Bo, news reports have claimed that Heywood had acted as a "white glove" for Bo's money laundering activities and that he was a business consultant for a firm run by Bo's wife, Gu Kailai. Sources have also claimed that Heywood's death in a Chongqing hotel room last November was not an accident, as Chinese authorities initially ruled, and that he was poisoned by Gu over a financial dispute.
An alternative theory has now been presented by Boxun — that Heywood's death was ordered by Bo because of an affair he had had with Gu. According to this formulation, the murder was carried out by Che Keming, former director of China's National Security Agency in Dalian, a port city in the country's northeast, where Bo was once mayor.
Boxun cited a Wall Street Journal article in which Heywood told friends he was concerned for his safety, and reported that this was due to his having fallen in love with the wife of a high-ranking Communist Party official. This theory may explain why the Wall Street Journal also reported a source as saying that Gu had demanded Heywood divorce his Chinese wife.
Notwithstanding Bo's claims that Gu, once a high-powered lawyer, was a stay-at-home mother who gave up her career more than two decades ago, the Journal's investigation has revealed that she had in fact been involved in various business dealings in the US and UK throughout.
Gu reportedly ran her own company — which she called the Law Office of Horus L Kai — and was also involved in a firm called Horas Consultancy & Investment, which advised clients wanting to do business in China. She was said to have relied on a small group of advisers and friends that included Heywood, American businessman Larry Cheng and French architect Patrick Henri Devillers, all of whom had become close to the family during their time in Dalian and Beijing.
The investigation also found that Gu had been battling depression in recent years and that her relationship with her ambitious husband was growing more distant in his quest for a spot in the party's ruling circles, a dream that has been all but shattered by recent events.
Bo Xilai 薄熙來
Wang Lijun 王立軍
Gu Kailai 谷開來
Che Keming 車克明