China: Ex-Police Chief Doesn’t Contest Charges as Trial Ends

Posted September 18th, 2012 at 5:55 am (UTC-5)
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A former Chinese police chief at the center of a major Communist Party scandal did not contest charges against him Tuesday as his trial ended in the central city of Chengdu.

Wang Lijun is accused of defection and abuse of power related to a February incident where he fled to a U.S. consulate with details on the killing of a British businessman. The wife of his powerful Communist Party boss, Bo Xilai, was later convicted of the murder.

Prosecutors quoted in the official Xinhua news agency Tuesday said that although Wang “knew state secrets,” he committed the “serious” offense of leaving his post without authorization and “defected to another country's consulate.”

They said he “knew perfectly well” that Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was “under serious suspicion” of the murder, but “deliberately covered up” the crime. Only after the alleged cover-up and his attempted defection failed, did he reportedly re-open the investigation.

No verdict was given in the case, which ended after two half-day sessions that were closed to foreign media. The charges, which also include bribe-taking and bending the law for selfish ends, carry a possible death sentence.

But Chengdu Intermediate Court spokesperson Yang Yuquan said after the hearing that Wang could receive a more lenient sentence because of his cooperation with authorities.

“Wang Lijun's defection was under special circumstances, and he brought an end to it. Then he voluntarily left the U.S. consulate, and confessed all the main details to Chinese authorities. So, he voluntarily gave himself up.”

A decision on Wang's case clears the way for the Communist Party to deal with the fate of Bo Xilai, the charismatic politician who was once considered a rising star in Chinese politics.

Bo has been stripped of his Party leadership positions and is under investigation for corruption, but has not been charged with any crimes related to the case.

Observers say Beijing is anxious to put an end to the scandal before the date of a sensitive leadership transition that is expected to begin in October with a major Communist Party meeting.