China is roiling over the mysterious case of the country’s most famous police officer, Wang Lijun, who is under investigation by the authorities for having unauthorized contact with U.S. embassy officials in Chengdu.
Rumors are rampant that Wang had been seeking asylum in the U.S.
Victoria Nuland, a spokesman for the U.S. state department, confirmed that: “Wang Lijun did request a meeting at the US consulate general in Chengdu earlier this week . . . He did visit the consulate and he later left the consulate of his own volition.”
Wang, who made a name for himself for arresting gangsters and organized criminals as police chief in Chongqing in southwest China, is closely associated with politician Bo Xilai, the local Communist Party chief.
Bo and Wang formed a Batman-and-Robin-like “Dynamic Duo” unearthing massive corruption, fraud and violence in Chongqing’s sleazy underworld and within the Communist Party itself. Wang reportedly personally investigated 10,000 people.
Bo and Wang reportedly used extra-judicial methods, including torture, on prisoners to exact confessions. They also exposed violent crimes, including murder and rape, committed by senior Communist Party officials.
More than two years ago, Bo told a television reporter: ''Corruption is the [Communist] Party's mortal wound and degeneration of its working style is its chronic disease. Without help the disease will become fatal.''
Bo became popular with old-fashioned Communists who longed for the purity of purpose of Chairman Mao and his minions. He was widely expected to become a national leader.
Now that his police chief has apparently attempted to flee the country, Bo’s reputation has been shattered, perhaps permanently. Other reports suggest that Wang possessed incrimination documents linking Bo, his former boss, to criminal activity.
Han Deqiang, founder of the Utopia website, wrote: “Bo will not step down but he will be seriously impacted. It will be a big blow to the Chongqing model.''
Bo has now publicly denounced Wang, according to reports.
Meanwhile, rumors and speculation about Wang’s whereabouts and fate have spread wildly on Chinese social media sites like Weibo. However, Chinese officials have blocked the keyword “Wang Lijun” on the traditional websites.
The state-controlled Chinese has said little of substance relating to the Wang affair. Official media merely stated that Wang was placed on leave due to “stress;” while vice foreign minister Cui Tiankai described the drama as an isolated incident.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.