26 December 1959 |
Arxan, Inner Mongolia
|Other names||Mongolian: Ünen Baatar|
|Citizenship||People's Republic of China|
|Alma mater||Chinese People's Public Security University|
|Occupation||Vice-mayor of Chongqing; Chongqing police chief; Tieling police chief|
|Known for||Chongqing gang trials, Wang Lijun incident|
|Communist Party of China|
|Abuse of power, bribery, defection|
|15 years in prison|
Wang Lijun (born 26 December 1959) is a former Chinese regional police official. He was the one-time vice-mayor and head of the Public Security Bureau (PSB) of Chongqing, effectively the city's police chief. Wang is ethnically Mongol and is a native of Arxan, Inner Mongolia.
Wang was known for his involvement in the Wang Lijun incident, which erupted into a major scandal in Chinese politics in 2012 which brought down himself and his superior, Bo Xilai. Prior to taking office in the Chongqing municipal government, where he was a key player in the Chongqing Gang Trials, Wang served as vice-mayor and head of police of Jinzhou, Liaoning, where he had worked under Bo Xilai, the former Communist Party leader of Chongqing and member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China.
Wang began his career in public security in 1983, when he joined the provincial police force of Liaoning. In 1984, he became a traffic police officer, and proceeded to advance quickly through the ranks of the public security bureau. From 1992 to 1995, he served as the deputy director of the public security department in Tiefa, Liaoning, and from 1995 to 2000 held the same position in Tieling. In 2000, Wang was appointed director of the public security department in Tieling, and was noted for his campaigns to crack down on corruption and criminal gangs.
During his tenure in Tieling, Wang was allegedly involved in the Tieling corruption scandal. Details surrounding the case are unclear, though there is speculation that Wang may have been implicated in corruption. Wang's successor as director of the Tieling public security department, Gu Fengjie, has reportedly been detained pending investigation on corruption charges.
Wang became associated with Bo Xilai while Bo served as governor of Liaoning, and Wang followed him to Chongqing. In June 2008, Wang Lijun was appointed as the police chief of Chongqing as a right-hand man to Bo Xilai. On 10 July 2009, Bo launched the campaign against gangs, with Wang his top enforcer. Wang played a central role in the "strike-hard" campaigns in Chongqing, which saw 1,544 suspects arrested in what may have been the largest crackdown of its kind. Close to 6,000 people, amongst whom were wealthy businessmen, government advisers, crime bosses and senior police officers have been arrested in Wang's anti-crime campaigns since 2009. The South China Morning Post reported that local crime bosses had once placed a ¥6 million bounty on Wang's head.
Wang's success in combating crime eventually resulted in his appointment to the National People's Congress. Wang's anecdotes appeared as anti-corruption and anti-crime propaganda in documentaries in print and television media and elsewhere; he played a leading role in many of the shows. Hailed as an anti-triad hero for busting crime in Liaoning, Wang's bravery in confronting gangs became subject of a television drama, Iron-Blooded Police Spirits.
On 2 February 2012, Wang was abruptly reassigned "to a post overseeing municipal education, science, and environmental affairs", regarded as a less prestigious post than his former public security office. Although details on the demotion are sparse, observers have speculated that Wang fell out of favor with Bo after Wang came under scrutiny by the Commission for Discipline Inspection for his possible involvement in the Tieling corruption case. In order to make a deal for himself with the commission, Wang may have sought leniency in exchange for information on corruption and embezzlement by Bo Xilai and/or his wife. Bo is speculated to have learned about Wang's accusations, and ordered the arrest of several individuals closest to Wang. Wang's fears of retribution by Bo Xilai may have led him to seek refuge at the American consulate in Chengdu. In interviews with Southern Weekly and Chongqing Daily following announcement of his "stress leave", Wang said: "It is just a normal reshuffle." He refused to engage on online speculation for his job change. The report was published on its website on Wednesday but was removed a few hours later.
In March 2012, allegations began emerging from spurned businessmen of corruption, torture, and intimidation by top-level officials in Chongqing.
Li Jun, a fugitive businessman from Chongqing, told the Financial Times that Chongqing security forces seized his $700 million real estate business and tortured him as retaliation for attempting to purchase land that was also sought by the government. When he refused to give up the land to the government, Li became a target of Bo Xilai's 2009 anti-corruption campaign. He claims he was abducted, tortured on a "tiger bench" and shocked with electric batons, and that officials sought to charge him with "bribery, gun-running, pimping, usury and supporting illegal religious organizations". Li's allegations could not be independently verified, and he currently lives in hiding abroad.
Chongqing real estate developer and member of Chongqing's People's Congress, Zhang Mingyu, was arrested in Beijing after writing in his microblog that he had evidence of ties between top-level Chongqing officials and the mafia. Prior to his arrest, Zhang wrote on his blog that a high-level Chongqing official, Zhui Zhengkuan, committed suicide in early March. According to Zhang, the official was a close associate of city crime boss Weng Zhenjie. Weng Zhenjie—who was not targeted during the city's highly publicized crackdowns on organized crime—is also reportedly close to the city's mayor.
Zhang Mingyu was a business rival of Weng Zhenjie in Chongqing. Zhang claimed to have a tape recording in which Wang Lijun threatened him to stop making charges against Weng.
Zhang was seized on 7 March from his Beijing home by three officers, along with Chongqing's deputy police chief, who had disguised themselves as maintenance workers.
Visit to U.S. Consulate
On 6 February 2012, Wang traveled to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu. Following a meeting with U.S. consular officials, Wang reportedly "left of his own volition." The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledged on 9 February 2012 Wang's visit to the U.S. Consulate, and said that the matter was "under investigation".
The U.S. Department of State did not comment on the content of the meeting, though observers speculated that Wang may have been seeking political asylum which Obama rejected instead sending him to jail, or at a minimum was seeking to extricate himself from the reach of Bo Xilai, who had already allegedly arrested several of Wang's allies.[not in citation given] Overseas Chinese-language websites such as Boxun alleged that Wang brought evidence incriminating Bo Xilai to the meeting at the consulate. While Wang was in the consulate, the building was encircled by police. The Department of State refused to comment on speculations Wang sought to defect to the United States.
Following his departure from the consulate, Wang was immediately seized by security agents. Reports indicate he then flew to Beijing, possibly in the company of Qiu Jin, vice minister of the Ministry of State Security.
On 9 February, several overseas Chinese-language websites posted an open letter allegedly written by Wang. The letter accused Bo Xilai of corruption and harboring criminal connections and called him "the greatest gangster in China," and also complained that Bo treats his subordinates like "chewing gum," i.e. that they were to be disposed of when they wear out. The websites claimed Wang secretly sent the letter to his overseas friends prior to his unexpected leave, and he entered the U.S. Consulate in order to ask the latter to hold documents incriminating Bo.
Shortly after Wang's meeting at the U.S. consulate, Chongqing municipal government information offices stated that Wang was “seriously indisposed due to long term overwork and intense mental stress." They continued, "Currently he has been authorized to undergo vacation-style medical treatment.”
In early March 2012, Hu Jintao reportedly denounced Wang as a traitor to the Communist Party and the nation in an internal briefing relayed to members of the Communist Party's Political Consultative Conference. The Xinhua news agency reported in June 2012 that Wang had resigned as a deputy to the China parliament.
Trial and sentencing
In September 2012 he was charged with and convicted of abuse of power, bribe taking, defection and “bending the law for selfish ends.” He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He told the Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court that he does not plan to appeal the ruling.
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