Heywood`s death `hugely damaged` China`s image

The death of Neil Heywood, a British businessman, has `hugely damaged` both China and Communist Party, Zhang Dejiang said.

Updated: Jun 18, 2012, 17:16 PM IST

Beijing: The death of Neil Heywood, a British businessman, has ``hugely damaged`` both China and the Communist Party, the new leader of Chongqing, Zhang Dejiang said.

According to The Telegraph, Zhang Dejiang, one of China`s vice premiers, came to power in Chongqing following allegations that the wife of the city`s former leader, Bo Xilai, had murdered Heywood.

He said the scandal around Bo and his wife, the death of Heywood, and the flight of Chongqing`s police chief, Wang Lijun into the safe haven of the American consulate in Chengdu, should be separated from the achievements made in Chongqing under Bo`s rule.

"The Wang Lijun incident, Neil Heywood`s murder and Bo Xilai`s serious violation of discipline has hugely harmed the image of our Party and of our country," Zhang told the five-yearly congress of party officials in Chongqing.

"We believe that we should separate Chongqing`s achievements and the hard work of the people in the last five years from these three incidents and learn from the mistakes by improving our work,"

The Telegraph quoted Zhang, as saying. The scandal has come at a deeply sensitive time for China, revealing an apparent split at the top of the Communist party just as it prepares to unveil new leaders in the autumn.

While an investigation into Heywood`s death has been concluded, senior Communist Party leaders are yet to decide how to deal with the disgraced couple.