Neil Heywood's Death Raised With Hillary Clinton By William Hague

Posted: Updated:
Print Article
NEIL HEYWOOD
AP

William Hague discussed the death in China of British businessman Neil Heywood with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the Foreign Office has said.

Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne said on Tuesday that British officials have had "regular discussions" with their American counterparts about the case.

Neil Heywood, 41, was found dead in a secluded hotel near Congqing in November.

He was a friend of the family of Bo Xilai, a former rising star in Chinese politics who served as local party chief but was suspended from the Politburo in April amid allegations of "serious discipline violations".

Chinese authorities initially said it was down to alcohol overconsumption, but after Wang Lijun, a police chief from the region, attempted to defect to America the murky truth of the killing began to emerge.

In a series of written parliamentary answers given on Tuesday, Browne said British embassy staff in Beijing discussed the case with US officials in Beijing following Wang Lijun's visit to the US Consulate in Chengdu.

"The secretary of state for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Hague), has discussed the case with the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton," Browne said.

He also said that Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, raised the matter with Liu Yandong, First State Councillor of the People's Republic of China, on 16 April 2012.

David Cameron and Hague raised Heywood's case with Li Changchun, a member of the Chinese Politburo, on his visit to London on 17 April.

Last week the Foreign Office was asked to clarify whether Heywood was a spy.

The Foreign Affairs Select Committee wrote to Hague raising speculation about Heywood's "profession", and whether he had supplied information to the British Consulate or Embassy.

"For instance, did he supply the British Consulate or Embassy with information, either on a formal or informal basis?" the committee asked.