By Cal Widdall
After seeking asylum and reportedly requesting to defect at the US consulate in Chengdu, sources have revealed former Chongqing Police Chief Wang Lijun has been branded a traitor to both China and the Communist Party.
As reported on the South China Morning Post:
A source close to the top political advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said President Hu Jintao told Communist Party members among CPPCC delegates, in an internal briefing on Saturday evening, that Wang was a traitor.
A government source in Chongqing took a similar stance yesterday, saying: “All officials above prefectural levels in Chongqing were told the day before yesterday [March 4] that Wang had betrayed the country.”
The Chongqing source added that Wang had been involved in a string of crimes, including corruption and moral degeneration.
Wang’s notoriety rose as a hero-cop during Chongqing’s mafia crackdown, acting as right-hand man to the mayor at the time, Bo Xilai. A TV show named ‘Iron Blooded Police Spirits’, was even inspired by his exploits.
His fall from the CCP’s grace came on February 6th, when he visited the US consulate before allegedly ‘leaving of his own accord’. Rumours concerning Wang’s intentions dominated the Chinese blogosphere, and multiplied when the government stated he was suffering from exhaustion, and was off having ‘vacation-style medical treatment’.
When Wang was first taken away for what we can only assume was simulated picnics and sandcastle building exercises, analyst Chen Zemin commented that if he were to be branded with treason, this would reflect badly on Bo Xilai. Having previously been tipped as a front runner for a position on the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, his promotion now looks unlikely.
Political watchers will be curious to see whether allegations of ‘forceful extraction of evidence’ will be added to those of corruption and moral degradation. The central government’s decision whether or not to criticise Bo’s anti-mafia campaign, during which it’s believed evidence was often obtained using torture, will be an indication of things to come.