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China Opens Trial of Controversial Ex-Police Chief

  • VOA News

Chinese policemen huddle near the Chengdu Intermediate People's Court in Chengdu in southwest China's Sichuan province, Sept. 17, 2012.

Chinese policemen huddle near the Chengdu Intermediate People's Court in Chengdu in southwest China's Sichuan province, Sept. 17, 2012.

China has started the trial - in secret - of the controversial former police chief at the center of the country's worst political crisis in decades.

Wang Lijun went to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu in February, divulged the murder of a British businessman and implicated the wife of his boss, senior politician Bo Xilai, in the killing. Bo subsequently was removed from the country's communist leadership and his wife, Gu Kailai, was convicted of the murder and handed a suspended death sentence.

Chinese authorities on Monday unexpectedly opened Wang's trial on defection, abuse of power and other charges. His lawyer, Wang Yuncai, who is not related to her client, said the first day of the trial was held in secret because it involved "state secrets." The lawyer said the second day of the trial Tuesday would be held in public, but not open to foreign media.

The case has exposed deep divisions within the top ranks of China's leadership as it prepares for a generational shift in power. But the fate of Bo - believed to be under house arrest - has not been disclosed.

The secrecy surrounding the case has left people outside the court speculating about it, with one suggesting that the once-powerful police chief was himself the victim of a power struggle.

"I am more convinced that he is a victim of a power struggle. But since we don't know what really happened, we can only resort to speculation and rumors," he said. "We hope we can have access to just, fair and transparent information. Not only about this, we want to know more about other things, too, in the future.''

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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