‘Rest assured, Watson, that there is more to Neil Heywood’s hotel death than at first meets your eye. Remember always to follow the facts, wherever they may lead. And the facts concerning this case lead us long distances, my friend: from Beijing to Chongqing; from Chengdu to Beidaihe, where China’s Great Wall of Silence meets the sea. Remember also, my dear Watson, to look for events that should have happened, but did not. Remember well Silver Blaze, the case of the dog that failed to bark in the night. As I shall demonstrate, the failure of several dogs to bark is central to our understanding of this case ‘
Distances of this magnitude across an autocratic country that has no notion of the rule of law, and that shows every intent to cover up a murder most foul perpetrated perhaps by two princeling descendants of the so-called ‘Immortals’ who brought communist governance to China, will stretch the ingenuity even of our master-detective. But Holmes, always resourceful, no doubt will tap into a British intelligence network known as Hakluyt, that maintained close connections with the deceased British businessman, a healthy teetotaler who allegedly died of excessive alcohol consumption (or alternativcely of heart failure) and who was cremated by government agents within hours of his death.
Let us start, in Beijing, where the solution to this unusual death is surely already fully known. The alleged perpetrators of this crime – Bo Xilai and his second wife Gu Kailai – have passed through the hands of the Standing Committee of Nine. And let us not under-estimate the ability of Chinese torture to extract the truth, even from the most resistant of the descendants of the Immortals. We are not talking about mere water-boarding in the People’ s Republic, Watson. China has practised sophisticated torture over the last two millenia, and it is the master of that universe. By comparison, one Richard Cheney is a novice of this ignoble profession.
Two dogs failed to bark in Beijing, Watson, and their silence is truly significant. First, the Standing Committee of Nine removed Bo Xilai, a rising politician tipped for promotion to the Standing Committee of Nine in 2013, without ever explaining why. This is truly significant, because the bark that did not occur has moved like a virus across China. The Committee has taken a severe blow for failing to bark. Fear to the reputation for communism if two princelings – a son and a daughter of two Immortals – were to be charged with premeditated murder may well explain this silence.
Second, the Chinese wife of Neil Heywood, Lulu, failed to ask for details about her husband’s death, even when the Chinese government advised her husband’s family in England that he had died, not of excessive alcohol consumption, but of simple heart failure. Lulu has maintained her silence over the intervening four months. That failure to bark is surely a response to fear for herself and her two small children, Watson. Threats have been made and silence has been exacted, undoubtely by the Standing Committee of Nine.
Now let us move to Chongqing, the scene where the dastardly deed occurred. Two dogs failed to bark in Chongqing in November 2011 when Neil Heywood expired. First, the Chongqing authorities failed to request an autopsy, despite the fact that Heywood had a history neither of heavy drinking nor of heart problems. Why, Watson did that dog fail to bark? Second, Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai, supposedly bosom friends and close business acquaintances of Neil Heywood, failed either to query the actions of the authorities or to request an investigation into the circumstances of his death. Bo Xilai was the Mayor of Chongqing. How could it come to pass that he and his wife acquiesced without comment in the early dispatch of such a close friend and highly-valued colleague?
Next, let us move to the U.S. Embassy in Chengdu, located 300 kilometers from Chongquing, where Wang Lijun, the powerful police chief of Chongquing applied for political asylum on February 6, 2012, offering documentary evidence to support his claim that Neil Heywood had been poisoned by Gu Kailai as a consequence of a business deal that had soured. Two dogs failed to bark on that occasion, my dear Watson. First, the U.S. Consulate refused the asylum application and threw Wang Lijun to the waiting Chinese wolves. Mr. Wang has not been seen since then.
Second, the U.S government failed to report this event to the world press and indeed has remained silent as information has begun to leak out. Why would those two non-events occur, I ask? Could it be that the United States government does not want to irk its primary banker in a presidential election year?
Finally, let us move to Beidaihe, where Bo Xilai is allegely being held under house arrest. Why has Bo Xilai failed to speak out in response to his dismissal from office? Presumably, his slience is not consensual. Either he has been gagged, or he is already dead, executed with customary Chinese silence and efficiency.
The case moves forward Watson. We have many facts and peculiar non-events. I believe that we can close this case expeditiously, although it is no one’s interest that we should succeed except for those who believe in justice.