A sh*tload of new details have emerged in the ongoing Bo Xilai saga. Without further ado, let’s get you up to speed.
British businessman Neil Heywood apparently sensed he was “in trouble” and had been summoned on short notice to a meeting in Chongqing early November with representatives of the Bo family, writes Jeremy Page of the Wall Street Journal, who has been doing an amazing job covering the saga:
After he flew to Chongqing, he tried to telephone his usual contacts but couldn’t get through to any of them, according to the friend. He was left waiting alone in his hotel room for instructions.
Mr. Heywood felt he had reason to be nervous, although he had taken steps to protect himself. He had told the same friend earlier that he had left documents detailing the overseas investments of Mr. Bo’s family with his lawyer in Britain as an “insurance policy” in case anything happened to him.
He had also told friends that he was concerned about his safety after falling out with Mr. Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, who he said knew about the documents and was convinced she had been betrayed by someone in the family’s “inner circle” of friends and advisers.
Sharon LaFraniere and John Burns of the New York Times tell us what it was like at Heywood’s funeral:
At St. Mary’s Church in London’s Thames-side Battersea district, mourners who gathered for Neil Heywood’s memorial service a few days before Christmas were perplexed by the instructions laid down beforehand by one of Mr. Heywood’s classmates from Britain’s elite Harrow boarding school. He asked them not to approach Lulu Heywood, Mr. Heywood’s Chinese wife, and to remain in the pews until she and their two children had left the church.
The classmate’s eulogy made no mention of why a 41-year-old man in apparently good health had suddenly died. Nor could anyone ask the family.
“It was all very odd,” said one of those at the service, who, like many people connected with Mr. Heywood, asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivities surrounding the case. “There were a lot of questions, and a lot of tears. We’d all been to plenty of funerals, and none of us had ever been through anything quite like it.”
Michael Bristow of BBC cites a close friend of Heywood’s widow, Wang Lulu, who says she is “suffering”:
Outside her home, Mr Heywood’s Chinese wife said she was “sorry” she could not speak about the death, but she was too “sad”.
But a close friend, who did not want to be named, told the BBC: “She’s really suffering at the moment so please understand her – she’s just lost her husband.”
He added: “It’s not easy for her because she has to bring up her children.”
She has a son and daughter, who attend an international school in Beijing.
The family friend, who lives near Ms Wang, said that she might be willing to speak about what had happened in the future.
They live in a private, tree-lined compound on the outskirts of Beijing occupied by expensive villas.
Mr Heywood’s S-type Jaguar, with a Union Jack bumper sticker, is still in the drive of the family home, parked next to three bicycles.
It is an exclusive Western-style setting, home to rich Chinese and foreign families.
China is sensitive about this case – the BBC was asked to leave the compound by security guards.
Insiders say that two days after Heywood’s death, Gu (Kailai) and Heywood’s wife Wang (Lulu) met up in a cafe in Chongqing after military police helped clear up the place. They say that Gu could be heard sobbing, and it was after this meeting that Wang agreed to have the cremation instead of the autopsy and to accept the government verdict that he had died of excessive alcohol. Heywood was Bo Guagua’s English teacher, and Gu was the person that introduced Dalian native Wang to Heywood.
Since Heywood’s death hit international headlines, Wang had been accepting interviews from Reuters without giving her name. According to Reuters, she was adamant that the cremation was her own idea, but was sobbing throughout. [Translation by Shanghaiist]