Bo Supporters Protest; Wang Lijun ‘Comfortable’ in Prison

Just over a year after his attempt to seek shelter in the U.S. consulate in Chengdu triggered the fall of Chongqing Party head Bo Xilai, the city’s former police chief Wang Lijun is serving a 15-year sentence for “bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking”. Quoting a source close to his family, South China Morning Post’s Choi Chi-yuk describes the conditions of Wang’s incarceration:

The source said Wang’s food and accommodation were better than expected. “Wang lives in a single-room which has everything one could expect to find, including a television to watch and newspapers and magazines to read,” the source said.

However, he has no computer and no access to the internet.

He is being held in Qincheng Prison, which is administered by the Ministry of Public Security and was built to hold officials above vice-ministerial level.

[…] The source said some supporters from Chongqing or Wang’s hometown in Liaoning province had taken dishes of dumplings to the prison and dedicated them to Wang on the eve of Lunar New Year last month. “It was a heartfelt gesture even though he [Wang] failed to receive the gifts,” the source said.

Confiscated dumplings aside, Wang’s reported circumstances are rather softer than those he is said to have presided over as police chief. The municipality’s new administration has promised to “banish” his and Bo’s influence. Supporters of Bo, who is still awaiting trial, gathered in Chongqing on Thursday to protest the exorcism. From Patrick Boehler at South China Morning Post:

“The people of Chongqing do not welcome an organised crime lawyer,” one banner read, according to photos that spread on Sina Weibo and forums. “Fight organised crime, eliminate the evil.” Many of the comments on Weibo reflected some nostalgia for Bo’s rule, which ended last year and became China’s most spectacular political scandal in decades. “I only trust Bo Xilai,” one person commented on the photos. “Justice will prevail.”

The red banners they were holding were directed against lawyer Li Zhuang, who is leading appeals against what he says were politically motivated convictions during Bo’s tenure. He himself has been sentenced to two and half years in prison for fabricating evidence in 2010. The small protest shows that Bo, son of revolutionary hero Bo Yibo, still has at least some support in his former Central Chinese power base.

Li himself has memorably described Bo and Wang’s rule as “like a crazy mouse on a rollercoaster going to a slippery slide“.

March 29, 2013 11:26 AM
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Categories: Law, Politics, Society