News / Asia

Ex-Police Chief Gets 15 Years in China

Chongqing municipality ex-police chief Wang Lijun (R) reads a statement during his sentencing inside the courtroom of the Chengdu People's Intermediate Court in Chengdu, Sichuan province in this still image taken from video, Sept. 24, 2012.
Chongqing municipality ex-police chief Wang Lijun (R) reads a statement during his sentencing inside the courtroom of the Chengdu People's Intermediate Court in Chengdu, Sichuan province in this still image taken from video, Sept. 24, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
William Ide
— A court in China has sentenced former police chief Wang Lijun to 15 years in prison. Wang’s flight to a U.S. consulate in southern China, earlier this year, helped expose one of the Communist party’s biggest political scandals in decades.

During his trial, Wang Lijun did not contest any of the charges against him, which included defection, bribery, abuse of power and, as state media put it, bending the law for his own selfish ends.

The willingness to admit his guilt as well as help authorities with the investigation into the murder of a British businessman by the wife of his former boss - rising political star Bo Xilai - appears to have helped lighten his sentence.

In state media footage of the trial Wang was shown apologizing to those he says he let down.

Wang says he regrets the crimes he committed and pledges to spend the rest of his life repaying the party and all those who care about him. Wang says he wants to do this to make up for the pains he brought to them.

Wang Lijun was once Bo Xilai's right hand man. But that changed when he found out that Bo’s wife had murdered British businessman Neil Heywood.

According to an official account of the trial, Wang first helped cover up evidence of the murder, but later confronted his former boss about his wife’s involvement.

When he did, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency says Wang was angrily rebuked and had his ears slapped.

Willy Lam, a China scholar, says one of the most remarkable things about the account of the trial is that it mentions indirectly, but very clearly, the name of Bo Xilai. “It is possible that Bo Xilai, even though he has powerful patrons including former president Jiang Zemin, might have to appear in a court of law to answer criminal charges regarding sheltering his wife and possibly even preventing the course of justice,” stated Lam.

Lam says that, if Bo really does face charges, his punishment is not likely to be too severe, but any criminal action against him will mean the end of his political career.

Bo was last seen in public in March, when he was removed from his post as Chongqing party secretary. The Communist party is investigating him for serious violations of party discipline as it prepares for a once in a decade leadership reshuffle.

Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a political scientist at Hong Kong Baptist University says it is difficult to say what may come next for Bo. “We do not have much hint actually that Bo Xilai is getting to be prosecuted as an ordinary criminal accused of corruption, accused of bending the law for his own interest, of torture or even covering up his wife's murder," said Cabestan. "I think the authorities, the Chinese Communist party leaders, have kept both options open, maybe because they are still divided about how to manage the Bo Xilai case before the party congress.”

Cabestan says that, although the party may want to handle Bo internally, it may be too hard to do that given that many Chinese believe he had to have known about his wife’s involvement in the murder of Neil Heywood.

“I think the logical conclusion would be that eventually Bo Xilai should be prosecuted and should be accused of crimes according to the Chinese criminal law, but how long is going to take, whether such a decision can be made before the congress.  And, next question of course is when is the congress is going to open, all those questions remain in the air and undecided for the time being,” Cabestan added.

Lam says he believes some kind of a decision on Bo Xilai will come soon. “They don't have much time left I think so the leadership is very close I think to hammering out the final verdict on Bo Xilai. Again, this illustrates very well the fact that in China there is no independence of the judiciary," Lam said. "So most criminal and other cases are decided by senior officials in the politburo, not by judges and other judiciary officials.”

Most analysts believe that the party will hold its 18th congress some time next month, which will mark the beginning of a once-in-a-decade transition of power.

You May Like

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

US congressional delegation initiates $84 million Agent Orange cleanup project More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid