Wang Lijun Awaits Trial, Fate

The New York Times’ Edward Wong recaps the saga of Wang Lijun, the former police chief under Bo Xilai’s Chongqing regime, whose early February dash to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu set off a chain of events that saw Bo purged from power and Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, convicted of murdering a British businessman. While Wang is expected to face treason charges as soon as this month, though Wong writes that his role in the Bo Xilai scandal remains cloudy:

The official narrative, laid out at a trial of Ms. Gu on Aug. 9, said that Ms. Gu and Mr. Wang intended to lure Mr. Heywood to Chongqing, where Mr. Wang would then shoot Mr. Heywood in a drug-related arrest attempt, according to courtroom observers.

After Mr. Wang backed out of the plot, Ms. Gu poisoned Mr. Heywood with the help of a family aide, and then confessed to the murder in a talk with Mr. Wang, who secretly recorded the conversation. The account by the official Xinhua news agency, though, barely mentioned Mr. Wang.

Four policemen under Mr. Wang were tried separately on charges of harboring Ms. Gu.

Legal experts and some political observers in China say some of the evidence presented in court lacks credibility. Hu Shuli, a prominent Chinese journalist, wrote Wednesday that parts of the official murder narrative had raised “suspicions.”

A Hong Kong television channel reported last Monday that Wang had been tried behind closed doors in Chengdu, according to The Telegraph, though no other sources have confirmed that story. See also a profile of Wang published last Friday by BBC News, as well as previous coverage by CDT.

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