09/06/2012, 00.00
CHINA
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Charges laid against Wang Lijun. Again, no mention of Bo Xilai

by Wang Zhicheng
The once powerful former police chief of Chongqing is accused of defection, abuse of power, corruption and hiding evidence. Although he was a close collaborator of Bo Xilai, the latter’s name is not mentioned in connection to the charges. Thanks to Wang murder intrigue of British businessman Heywood discovered. But the party accuses him of "betrayal", perhaps because he revealed the rot at centre of leadership.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The former police chief of Chongqing, the catalyst in revealing the biggest scandal of the last 30 years in the Chinese leadership has been publicly charged with four crimes. According to Xinhua, the Chengdu prosecutor has formalized the charges against Wang Lijun (pictured) - with bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking - and asked the Intermediate Court of the city Sichuan to set a trial date soon.

The charges against Wang, once a close associate of Bo Xilai, the party chief in Chongqing, seem specifically tailored to avoid implicating Bo and save face in the party, which is preparing for its 18th Congress, which will see the transition of power from Fourth to the Fifth Generation.

Last February, Wang fled and hid in the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, where he applied for asylum. Wang feared for his life after discovering that the wife of Bo Xilai, Gu Kailai, he had killed businessman Neil Heywood with her own hands.

The accusation of "defection and escape" - rather unusual in China - it is understandable given that his flight alerted the world to the intrigues worthy of "Dynasty" within the leadership. Communicating the assassination to a foreign consulate, the Party has had to intervene. But it had to save face. Gu Kailai was arrested and sentenced to death, suspended for two years (see 20/08/2012 Death penalty for Gu Kailai. Still silence on Bo Xilai) several police chiefs were condemned (see 10/08/2012 Chongqing saga: police and Wang Lijun on trial. Silence on Bo Xilai) and now the trial of Wang Lijun.

Interestingly enough, in none of these trials was the name mentioned of the Chongqing boss, Bo Xilai, husband of the assassin, who benefited from the wealth acquired by corrupt Heywood, direct superior and close associate of Wang Lijun.

From 2009 on, Bo and Wang set in action a plan to rid Chongqing of local mafias, often using unorthodox methods such as torture and false accusations, to the point of arresting senior members of the Party and the judiciary (from here on charges of abuse of power). The campaign - called - "Hit Black from hei" - Bo was noticed by and moved up in the party hierarchy. Until February, the day of Wang's defection, he was on the point of being nominated a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the peak of Chinese power. Soon afterwards, the party intervened and removed him from Chongqing, accusing him of generic "violations of party discipline."

Of ethnic Mongolian origin and a martial arts expert, Wang has always enjoyed a reputation as incorruptible. He has inspired some detective soap operas. Also an expert in anatomy and autopsy, after the assassination of Heywood, he had taken blood and a piece of heart from the body of the to use as evidence in the future. But in the meantime he had hidden the charges against the wife of his immediate boss.

Some observers think that the fall of Bo Xilai was orchestrated to shake up the party of "princelings" - of which Bo is part - in their climb towards central power, to benefit the clan around to Hu Jintao.

But the same Hu Jintao accused Wang of "treason" and since last February he disappeared in police custody. The public does not understand what kind of "betrayal" he is guilty of: after all, it is thanks to Wang, that Gu Kailai was convicted. But perhaps the "betrayal" is the fact that he "washed dirty linen" at the U.S. consulate and so forced the party to come to terms with the internal struggles for power, widespread corruption and recklessness in the use of the law for their own purposes.

 

 

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