Neil Heywood's mother calls for ‘decisiveness, compassion’ ahead of Bo Xilai’s trial
The mother of British businessman Neil Heywood, whose 2011 murder in Chongqing caused one of the biggest political scandals in China, has called on the Chinese government to show “decisiveness and compassion” for her grandchildren ahead of the trial of disgraced Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai.
In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Ann Heywood said her son’s death had left her two grandchildren, aged 8 and 12, without “financial provision for their future”.
“Despite repeated discreet approaches to the Chinese authorities, there has been no substantive or practical response,” she wrote, adding that she hoped the government would “mitigate the consequences of a terrible crime and ... enable my family finally to achieve some kind of closure to our ongoing nightmare.”
Heywood’s first public comments come 21 months after her son died in a Chongqing hotel. His family was told that he had died from excessive alcohol consumption. A swift cremation prevented the family from carrying out an independent autopsy.
His death, however, triggered a political scandal that took down Bo, a rising Communist Party star, after the city’s police chief, Wang Lijun, sought asylum at the US consulate in Chengdu in February and reportedly revealed that Gu Kailai, the wife of Bo, had poisoned the British businessman in November 2011.
Gu was arrested in spring and handed last August a suspended death sentence for murdering Heywood. Her husband Bo, the son of revolutionary hero Bo Yibo, was purged in April. Last month, state media reported that he would soon stand trial in Jinan, Shandong, province on corruption charges.