Chinese police official who touched off scandal faces trial Tuesday
BEIJING -- Wang Lijun, the Chinese police official who sought refuge at a U.S. consulate in February and touched off a far-reaching scandal, will go on trial Tuesday on charges including defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking.
The trial will take place at the Intermediate People's Court in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province where Wang entered the consulate.
Reached by phone Friday, a spokesman for the court surnamed He said it was unclear how many days the case would last. He said the trial would be “open,” but that the court had many applications to cover the proceedings and were not accepting any others.
When Wang went to the consulate, he accused the wife of Politburo member Bo Xilai of poisoning a British business associate. The allegations sounded outrageous, but Bo was soon ousted from his party posts and his wife, Gu Kailai, was convicted last month of the murder. Some observers noted that although Wang is facing four charges, he avoided a more serious accusation of treason.
It’s unclear exactly what sentence Wang might face if he is convicted on all the charges. Four high-ranking police officers who once worked under Wang were convicted of covering up the killing and received prison sentences ranging from five to 11 years.
During Gu’s trial, prosecutors claimed that Wang knew in advance that Gu was planning to kill Neil Heywood, and helped her cover her tracks.
Wang remained in the U.S. Consulate one day before surrendering to officials from Beijing. The U.S. State Department says that he never requested asylum and left of his own accord.
-- Julie Makinen and Tommy YangPhoto: Wang Lijun in Chongqing, China, in 2008. Credit: Associated Press