Wang Lijun: Tip of the Iceberg?

Amid the rumors surfacing about the status of Chongqing vice-mayor and former police chief Wang Lijun, after locals reported a police presence outside the U.S. consulate in Chengdu and Chonqging authorities announced that Wang had accepted “vacation-style treatment” early last week, few facts have emerged in statements from both American and Chinese officials. A U.S. state department spokeswoman confirmed that Wang visited the U.S. consulate in Chengdu on Monday and that he “left on his own volition.” China’s Foreign Ministry also confirmed Wang’s consulate visit, though so far neither side has responded to speculation that China’s most famous policeman asked for asylum. Media outlets reported that Wang flew to Beijing with the deputy head of China’s State Security Ministry on February 8, based on passenger flight details pulled from a travel website backed by China’s aviation regulator. Li Cheng of The Brookings Institution told Bloomberg that moving Wang to Beijing demonstrates the seriousness of the situation: “This means that the top leadership is directly involved in this investigation,” Li, who analyzes Chinese elite politics, said in an e-mail. “The incident is extremely serious and we probably only see the tip of the iceberg.” Chongqing native and U.S.-based author Xujun Eberlein pieces together a version of the incident based on “informed speculation” she gathered during a just-completed China trip: First, Wang Lijun was not seeking asylum with the US as some have guessed. He was running away from Bo Xilai and seeking the protection of Beijing’s Party Central, and he used the US consulate as a safe house, possibly also a message relay point. He waited an entire day until the people sent from Beijing arrived, at which point he walked out of the US consulate “of his own volition,” as state department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland put it. Wang then walked ...
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2 Responses to Wang Lijun: Tip of the Iceberg?

  1. […] The microblog rumour mill has been in overdrive for the last week, with the intriguing tale of Wang Lijun, former superstar police chief under Chongqing Party boss/professional self-promoter Bo Xilai. Wang took refuge in a US consulate, before being whisked off to Beijing amidst a scuffle between Sichuan police and central authorities. For a good overview of the story so far, see the China Digital Times’ coverage here. […]

  2. Kevin H says:

    A truly explosive story! The Epoch Times website has a series of articles covering this issue comprehensively.
    Seems to go to the heart of Communist power in China, with the Jiang Zemin alliance trying to maintain its hold on power after Xi Jinping assumes leadership! Wang Lijun’s visit to the US consulate will surely be a bomb to the stable transition of power in China. Bo Xilai’s entangled relations at all levels of the CCP will ensure an outcome to this process that few can predict!