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UK defends Heywood death response
The Foreign Office has defended itself over alleged delays in intervening over the murder of a British businessman in China.
Britain asked the Chinese to investigate the death of Neil Heywood and it emerged last week that the wife of a senior Communist Party official is being probed for his "intentional homicide".
The 41-year-old was found dead on November 15 in Chongqing in central China.
The Times said that the Foreign Office was facing increasing questions over delays in its intervention.
It said it had emerged that a British diplomat and two Chinese policemen attended Mr Heywood's cremation in Chongqing shortly after he was killed.
But the British did not raise questions with the Chinese until three months later, despite locally based British businessmen urging the Foreign Office to intervene, the newspaper said.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: "As we became more concerned about this case, including following suggestions from the business community, we took the decision to ask the Chinese authorities to launch an investigation.
"We acted as soon as we thought concerns about the case justified it.
"We are pleased that the Chinese have now launched that investigation. We were in constant contact with the family throughout and kept them informed of our actions."
Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday during a Far East tour that he was pleased the Chinese authorities were taking action over the murder.