China's ruling Communist Party said Wednesday that it is committed to investigating a political scandal that includes the suspected murder of a British businessman, following new appeals from Britain for a swift probe free from political meddling.
The statement carried by the official Xinhua News Agency came hours after Prime Minister David Cameron and British Foreign Secretary William Hague both held talks with China's propaganda chief during his visit to Britain. They demanded a transparent investigation into the death last year of Briton Neil Heywood in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing.The leading suspect in the death is the wife of the metropolis' former top official, Bo Xilai, whose recent dismissal launched China's biggest - and by far messiest - political crisis in years.
The scandal was set in motion February 6, when Bo's former right-hand man, Chongqing ex-police chief Wang Lijun, made a surprising visit to the U.S. consulate in the nearby city of Chengdu. Wang expressed suspicions about Heywood's death, originally termed accidental, before being taken into the custody of investigators in Beijing. Wang's whereabouts are now unknown.