China to try ex-police head for defection, bribery

Associated Press
FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2008 file photo, Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun speaks at a news conference in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality. The Chinese police chief whose flight to a U.S. consulate set off a messy political scandal will stand trial Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012 on charges of attempted defection and bribery, as China's leadership tries to wrap up the turbulent affair before new leaders are put in power in coming weeks. (AP Photo, File) CHINA OUT
.

View gallery

BEIJING (AP) — A trial next week for a flamboyant former police chief marks the latest step by China's leadership to contain the fallout from a messy political scandal that disgraced a senior politician and complicated an unexpectedly bumpy handover of power to new leaders.

The Intermediate Court in the Chengdu announced Friday that Wang Lijun would stand trial Tuesday for defection, bribery and other charges. A police chief who was unusually fond of publicity, Wang was a longtime aide to prominent up-and-coming leader Bo Xilai. Wang's unexpected flight to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu in February set off the scandal that led to Bo being suspended from the Communist Party Politburo and his wife being convicted last month of murdering a British businessman.

Dealing with the fates of Wang, Bo and his wife has consumed the leadership's attention when it had hoped to concentrate on preparing for a handover of power to a younger generation of leaders at the party congress this fall — an event that always occasions tricky backroom politicking.

Though no dates have been announced, the congress is widely expected to be in the latter half of October. But the scheduling seemed to suffer another complication when the next top leader, Vice President Xi Jinping, suddenly dropped from public view this month and remained unaccounted for Friday for the 13th day. The government has refused to comment.

Xi's absence has reportedly prevented senior leaders from holding a Politburo meeting that will set the dates for the congress and confirm the agenda for a larger meeting that will announce the party's verdict on Bo, once the popular head of the inland city of Chongqing and a contender for a leadership spot.

With so much unsettled, the leadership appears determined to characterize Wang's case as one of individual wrongdoing rather than symptomatic of divisive infighting within the party.

"They would certainly keep this as an individual case with no implications for Bo Xilai and therefore no implications for party factional struggles and so on," said Joseph Cheng, a political science professor at the City University of Hong Kong.

Wang worked with Bo, first in a northeastern province and in Chongqing where Bo made Wang police chief. The two staged a crackdown on organized crime that grabbed headlines and made them both national figures but that later was criticized for trampling on civil liberties.

For still unexplained reasons, the two men had a falling out early this this year, and after Bo removed him as police chief, Wang fled to the U.S. Consulate in nearby Chengdu.

During a 33-hour stay, Wang told U.S. diplomats that he suspected that British businessman Neil Heywood, a business associate of the Bo family, had been murdered in November in Chongqing and that he had evidence to prove it. Though it's unclear if Wang sought asylum, his indictment charges him with doing so. But U.S. diplomats explained to him that under U.S. policy, American embassies and consulates may not grant asylum.

In the meantime, Bo had sent a phalanx of officials to surround the consulate and retrieve Wang. Wang only left the consulate after negotiating his own handover to a vice minister of state security who came from Beijing to retrieve him.

U.S. diplomats informed the British government about Wang's allegations, prompting London to request a new investigation and forcing the Chinese leadership to dealing publicly with affairs it usually prefers to handle in secret.

At her trial last month, Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was given a suspended death sentence for murdering Heywood over business disputes in which the Briton allegedly threatened her son. Three leading Chongqing police officers and a Bo family aide were also sentenced as accomplices in the murder and subsequent cover-up.

Wang has been charged with defection, bribe-taking, "bending the law for selfish ends" and abuse of power. In announcing his indictment last week, the official Xinhua News Agency said Wang knew that Gu was under serious suspicion of murdering Heywood, but "consciously neglected his duty and bent the law for personal gain" so Gu would not be held responsible.

Wang's hearing is supposed to be open, but as with Gu's trial it is likely to be closely orchestrated, with selected participants and media access restricted to only the main government news outlets.

"The Chongqing incident is being settled politically," said Pu Zhiqiang, a prominent rights lawyer. "All the trials are fake judgments that are have been made with political intervention."

Bo was not mentioned in official versions of Gu's trial or Wang's indictment. Some political analysts say those omissions are signs that Bo — who as a son of a revolutionary veteran is believed to retain some influence — will be spared a criminal prosecution.

Cheng, the analyst in Hong Kong, said he believed internal leadership negotiations have resulted in a decision in which Bo will give up his political ambitions for a more lenient penalty over the scandal.

"It's a kind of bargaining within the leadership concerning the leadership succession process," Cheng said. "He's out, but he will get off very lightly."

___

Associated Press researcher Flora Ji contributed to this report.

___

Follow Gillian Wong on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gillianwong

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • US sent $221 million to Palestinians in Obama's last hours

      WASHINGTON (AP) — Officials say the Obama administration in its waning hours defied Republican opposition and quietly released $221 million to the Palestinian Authority that GOP members of Congress had been blocking.

      Associated Press
    • What's in the Box? Social Media Goes Wild Over Tiffany's Gift Melania Trump Gave Michelle Obama

      It led to an awkward exchange after Michelle Obama was unsure what to do with the gift.

      Inside Edition
    • Wawrinka wins grudge match at Australian Open as Venus shines

      Stan Wawrinka won a bad-tempered clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to reach the Australian Open semi-finals as Venus Williams' late-career surge sent her soaring into the last four on Tuesday. Wawrinka and France's Tsonga, who have been at odds in the past, argued heatedly at the first-set changeover and there was no love lost as the Swiss charged to a 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, 6-3 win. It puts 2014 champion Wawrinka, 31, into his third Melbourne semi-final where he will play the ever-popular Roger Federer, his Swiss compatriot, or Mischa Zverev.

      AFP
    • 'SNL' Writer Suspended for Controversial Tweet About Barron Trump

      "The View" co-hosts discuss the boundaries involving children of presidents.

      ABC News Videos
    • Firebrand Iraq cleric warns US on Israel embassy move

      Moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would be a declaration of war on Islam, influential Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said Tuesday. "Transferring the US embassy to Jerusalem would be a public and more-explicit-than-ever declaration of war against Islam," he said in a statement. In a break with previous administrations, new US President Donald Trump has pledged to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and relocate the US embassy there from Tel Aviv.

      AFP
    • Man convicted of 3 murders as teen kills himself in prison

      CAMP HILL, Pa. (AP) — A man who broke into a classmate's home in 2007 and stabbed the teenager and his parents to death has killed himself in prison, authorities said Monday.

      Associated Press
    • Supreme Court sets stage for Trump switch on voter IDs

      The Supreme Court on Monday morning cleared the way for the new Trump Administration to switch the government’s position – if it wishes to do so – to allow states to enforce strict photo ID requirements for America’s voters.

      National Constitution Center
    • Royals' Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

      KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Yordano Ventura quit school as a teenager so he could begin working a construction job to help his family make ends meet, laboring day after day in the hot sun of the Dominican Republic.

      Associated Press
    • The Sig P320 is the U.S. Army's New Sidearm

      The new pistol replaces the 80s vintage M9 handgun.

      Popular Mechanics
    • Chelsea Clinton shuts down trolls who targeted Barron Trump

      Former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton has spoken out in defence of Barron Trump, the US president's youngest son, after trolls targeted him with cruel memes online during the inauguration.  In a Facebook post Chelsea, who spent much of her teenage years in the spotlight while her dad Bill Clinton was president, said the 10-year-old "deserves the chance every child does-to be a kid".  But she also turned political: "Standing up for every kid also means opposing POTUS policies that hurt kids". Criticism of Barron's facial expressions and posture during the inauguration was widespread on social media, with people mocking him and calling him out for looking bored.  A Saturday Night Live writer even tweeted: "Barron will be this country's first homeschool shooter". The tweet was later deleted.  People on Facebook praised Chelsea for defending Barron while also expressing her political ideas:  BONUS: Donald Trump's inauguration address included a Bane quote ›

      Mashable
    • Sheriff's Deputy Tried to Kill Elderly Woman He Nearly Swindled Out of $65,000: Cops

      Deputy Frankie Bybee, 49, allegedly tried stealing thousands of dollars from a 79-year-old Sarasota, Florida woman.

      Inside Edition
    • Minnesota Gov. Dayton, 69, collapses during speech

      ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton collapsed while delivering his State of the State speech on Monday, striking his head on a lectern. The 69-year-old Democrat appeared to be conscious as he was helped into a back room several minutes later, and a top staffer said he walked out of the Capitol under his own power.

      Associated Press
    • Go get a NES Classic at GameStop right now

      NES Classic consoles are slowly starting to trickle back into stores, and GameStop is the latest chain to get a new shipment of consoles. According to reports on Twitter, stores are limited to a couple consoles, and customers can only buy one console per person. A GameStop announcement said stock is "limited," so you're probably best to call your local store and confirm. The number of consoles each store gets depends on geographical location and size -- some have been getting over a dozen units, while smaller locations are limited to one or two. In any case, it's not an overwhelming number of units going on shelves, so you'd better get there quick. Across all retailers, this is looking like a good week for stock. Although it's still difficult to buy the console online -- Best Buy sold out in 20 minutes , last time there was some available -- in-store sales are looking up. Target and Walmart have both had significant shipments arrive, and ToysRUs is rumored to get a bunch of stock in later this week. Overall, things are looking better than during the Great Pre-Christmas NES Classic Shortage of 2016. If you're planning on staking out a store to get a console, we previously published a guide on how to get one from people who've done it successfully. This piece of advice from a user on NowInStock is still applicable: – BS [Ed note: Brickseek , another in-stock website] is very accurate if you know when to look and properly plan ahead. Walmart has been dry in my area so had to rely solely on Target, as I wasn’t certain that Walmart’s 11/22 order would go through in time for the holidays. When using BS for Target be sure to watch closely and refresh often from 8-9pm, through midnight. In my experience On-hand Qty was always one NES short compared to Saleable Qty; however, all On-hand products were sold. If you see Target’s inventory light up yellow/green online, don’t go rushing to the store before they close. That stock is to be sold the next day. Instead of running out at night, plan to arrive around 3:30-4:30am. The earlier the better. Tickets will be handed out between 5-7am. Results may vary..  

      BGR News
    • Paul Ryan says he sees "no evidence" to support President Trump’s claims of voter fraud

      U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan says he “sees no evidence” that would back up President Trump’s claims of voter fraud.

      Yahoo News Video
    • 12 bodies found in Mexican tourist town: officials

      A dozen bodies -- including seven that were headless and mutilated -- were discovered over the weekend in western Mexico's seaside resort of Manzanillo, apparent victims of the country's epidemic of drug violence, local officials said. It was a shocking turn of events for an area popular with American and other foreign tourists, which until now had largely been spared from the bloody drug wars wracking other parts of Mexico. Seven bodies were found early Saturday in an abandoned taxi on the road from Manzanillo to the town of Cihuatlan.

      AFP
    • 2018 BMW M4: Light Updates (Literally)

      This year's evolution of the M4.

      Car and Driver
    • Gambia's Jammeh 'allowed to keep' luxury car collection

      Gambian ex-president Yahya Jammeh will be allowed to keep his collection of 13 luxury cars and fly them out to his exiled home in Equatorial Guinea, a spokesman for new president Adama Barrow said Tuesday. Barrow's spokesman confirmed to AFP an agreement had been struck to facilitate Jammeh's exit on Saturday in order to end a weeks-long impasse caused by the ex-leader's refusal to recognise Barrow's election victory. "What is very clear is that arrangements were made and the government was fully prepared and supportive of ex-president Jammeh to leave and as a result they found it is better to leave with all his properties instead of coming down and checking properties," spokesman Halifa Sallah told AFP.

      AFP
    • Samsung: ‘A better, safer, and very innovative’ Galaxy Note 8 is coming

      Samsung completed its Galaxy Note 7 investigation and shared the results with the world on Monday. The company also unveiled a new 8-point quality assurance plan meant to prevent battery accidents from occurring on future Galaxy phones — and one of the phones that will benefit from the new safety policies is going to be the Galaxy Note 8. Yes, Samsung confirmed that it’s making “a better, safer and very innovative Note 8” just a few days ahead of its press conference on Monday. Samsung mobile boss DJ Koh spoke to CNET on Thursday about the Galaxy Note 7 fires. But Koh also let it slip that the Galaxy Note 7 won’t be the last phablet in the Note series. "I will bring back a better, safer and very innovative Note 8," Koh actually said, which a clear confirmation that a Galaxy Note 8 is indeed in the works. Samsung may have elaborated on the “safer” part during its press event on Monday, but it’s unclear at this time what “better” and “very innovative” mean. The Galaxy Note was the first big-screen smartphone that people flocked to, making Samsung the godfather of the phablet. The phone has plenty of fans, and Samsung says that Note fans are very devoted. In fact, 4% of the potentially faulty Galaxy Note 7 units that were sold are still in use out there — though most of them can’t even be used as phones anymore thanks to software limitations that have been put in place. "We found through the investigative process, we knew there are lots and lots of loyal Note customers," Koh said. Note fans are Samsung's most loyal base of clients across all of its products, the company said. According to Samsung’s Tim Baxter, president of the company's US division, more than 10,000 Note customers signed up to stay connected to Samsung for more updates. On top of that, there’s a large base of Galaxy Note 4 and Note 5 users who want an upgrade. "They made it clear, they want a Note," Baxter said. The Galaxy Note 8 likely won't launch until sometime this fall, but in the meantime, at least we all know for certain that the phone is coming.

      BGR News
    • Trump slapped with federal lawsuit in New York

      A group of American lawyers on Monday filed a federal lawsuit in New York against Donald Trump, accusing the US president of violating a constitutional ban on accepting payments from foreign governments. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is pursuing Trump over his vast business holdings, from which the billionaire has refused to divest fully, saying that as president he can have no conflict of interest. CREW says Trump's business properties abroad operate based partly on goodwill from foreign governments and regulators, but that under the US Constitution no federal official can receive a gift or "emolument" from a foreign government.

      AFP
    • Gun rights activists sue Massachusetts over assault weapons ban

      Gun rights advocates have sued Massachusetts over the state's ban on assault weapons, saying that a crackdown begun last year on "copycat" assault rifles is a vague and unconstitutional violation of gun ownership rights. The group of gun owners, dealers and the state's Gun Owners Action League, who have the backing of the National Rifle Association, said the July decision by Attorney General Maura Healey banned guns that had been purchased legally in the state over the past two decades and infringed on the right to bear arms protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. "Massachusetts prohibits firearms it pejoratively defines as 'assault weapons,' which is a non-technical, entirely fabricated, and political term of uncertain definition and scope," the 33-page lawsuit contends.

      Reuters