China has granted British diplomats extremely rare access to the trial of the wife of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai for the murder of Briton Neil Heywood, the foreign ministry said Saturday.
"We can confirm that British diplomats will attend the trial," a Foreign Office spokesman told AFP, ahead of the start of the highly politically-charged court proceedings in the eastern city of Hefei on August 9.
"We are dedicated to seeking justice for (Heywood) and his family and we will be following developments closely," the spokesman added.
"We are glad to see that the Chinese authorities are continuing with the investigation into the death of Neil Heywood."
The scandal embroiling Bo, who was one of China's most prominent Communist Party leaders before his downfall this year, is the biggest to strike the Chinese political world in decades.
It is highly unusual for foreign diplomats to be given access to such a politically sensitive trial in China.
Bo's wife Gu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun -- who worked for the Bo family -- are accused of poisoning Heywood, whose death was initially blamed on excessive alcohol consumption.
The businessman was found dead in a hotel room last November in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing, where Bo was the former Communist Party leader.
Gu, a former international lawyer, faces the death penalty if convicted, although this is often commuted in high-profile cases.
China's official news agency Xinhua said last week there was "irrefutable and substantial" evidence that Gu and Zhang Xiaojun had poisoned Heywood.
Investigation results showed that Gu had clashed with Heywood over "economic interests" and he had threatened her son, according to Xinhua.
The case burst into the open in February when Wang Lijun, Chongqing police chief and Bo's right-hand man, went to a US consulate in southern China to seek asylum and told diplomats of his suspicions about the politician and his family.
The scandal is seen as a huge embarrassment for the ruling Communist Party and it dashed charismatic Bo's hopes of promotion to the politburo standing committee -- the party's highest body.
Bo, the son of a revered communist revolutionary, is thought to be under house arrest and is being investigated for corruption.
He has been stripped of his senior positions with the ruling Communist Party, although he remains a member.