British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Tuesday he welcomed China's announcements on its investigation into the death of UK businessman Neil Heywood in China.

It is a death that needs to be investigated in its own terms, on its own merits without political considerations, Hague told BBC television.

I hope they will go about it in that way and I welcome the announcement they will have an investigation.

Chinese state media said earlier on Tuesday the Communist Party had suspended former high-flying politician Bo Xilai from its top ranks and named his wife, Gu Kailai, as a suspect in investigations into the murder of Heywood.

Heywood, 41, who had ties to Bo's family, was found dead in a hotel in Chongquing, southwest China, last November. His death was at first officially attributed to alcohol consumption.

(Stephen Addison)