Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Bo Xilai sacking tied to probe

The reports on numerous online news sites, including dwnews.com and Boxun.com, said Bo transferred his police chief, Wang Lijun, in late January after Wang informed him of an investigation into one of Bo’s relatives.

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Guanyu 道 said...

Bo Xilai sacking tied to probe

By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN | Associated Press
20 March 2012

One of China’s most powerful politicians interfered in an investigation involving a family member before he was fired last week, news reports said Tuesday, the latest revelation in what has become China’s biggest political scandal in years.

Bo Xilai’s removal as Communist Party boss of Chongqing city appears to have brought a screeching stop to the career of one of the country’s most ambitious politicians.

The reports on numerous online news sites, including dwnews.com and Boxun.com, said Bo transferred his police chief, Wang Lijun, in late January after Wang informed him of an investigation into one of Bo’s relatives.

Wang had asked Bo to see that the investigation was handled appropriately, and told him that the officer in charge of the probe had tendered his resignation because of pressure over the case, the sites said.

An angry Bo transferred Wang to a post overseeing education, science and other less sensitive matters, violating a rule requiring him to first notify the Ministry of Public Security in Beijing, the reports said.

Soon after, Wang drove to the southwestern city of Chengdu and spent a night in the U.S. consulate there, in what is believed to have been an attempt to seek political asylum. He left of his own accord and was flown to Beijing for questioning by the Ministry of State Security. He has not been heard from since.

The reports were transcripts of remarks delivered orally to ranking party and government officials over the past few days. Recordings purportedly of those remarks have also been posted on the Internet. They appear to be an elaboration on remarks delivered last week by Li Yuanchao, the head of the party’s Organization Department in charge of personnel matters, notifying party members of Bo’s removal and initial results of the Wang investigation.

Li described Wang’s visit to the U.S. consulate as unprecedented, extremely serious and “odious in nature.”

Tuesday’s reports said Wang was asked to submit a written request for asylum at the consulate, something U.S. diplomats have refused to discuss.

Party spokesmen did not immediately respond to faxed requests to verify the reports, carried mostly on websites outside China. In a sign of the sensitivity of the matter, search requests for Bo Xilai and Wang Lijun were blocked on the Internet inside China, which is strictly monitored by government censors. In some cases, people have gotten around the blocks and posted the reports on social media sites.

Bo had been considered a leading candidate for the party’s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee when new members are chosen this fall, and his removal on Thursday has prompted new speculation about jockeying for position ahead of the once-a-decade leadership transition.

Bo remains on the party’s 25-member Politburo and his ultimate fate remains unknown. While Tuesday’s reports did not indicate he was charged with any crimes, they said the investigation was ongoing and further action would likely be taken.