Chinese politician’s wife probed over Briton’s death (Lead)

April 11th, 2012 - 3:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, April 11 (IANS) A rising star of the Chinese political scene has been demoted from the country’s powerful politburo after his wife was named by police as a prime suspect in the murder of a British businessman, state-run news agency Xinhua has said.

Bogu Kailai, whose husband, Bo Xilai, 62, had been tipped as a future leader of China, is being investigated over the death of Neil Heywood. He died in November.

The investigation comes as China prepares for a once-in-a-decade change of leadership later this year, reported RIA Novosti.

Police initially said Heywood, 41, had died from excessive drinking, but suspicions of foul play led to the British government to repeatedly ask for a new investigation.

“According to reinvestigation results, the existing evidence indicated that Heywood died of homicide of which Bogu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun, an orderly at Bo’s home, are highly suspected.”

It also said that there was a “conflict over economic interests” between Heywood and the Bo family.

Xinhua also reported that Bo has been suspended from the ruling Communist Party’s Central Committee and its powerful 25-member Politburo.

Bo was dismissed as party chief in the south-west city of Chongqing last month after his police chief spent over an hour in the city’s US consulate in an apparent asylum bid.

“The Chinese are doing as we asked them to do and we now look forward to seeing those investigations take place and in due course hearing the outcome of those investigations,” said British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Quoting from the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China, Xinhua reported late Tuesday that Bo “has seriously violated the Party discipline, causing damage to the cause and image of the Party and the state”.

The article also called its readers for the “ideological unity” with the Chinese leader Hu Jintao and the Communist Party’s Central Committee that he leads.

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