Top 5 Common Misconceptions About Wang Lijun(video)
Time：2012-09-20 02:46:56 Resource：NTDTV Author：
Wang Lijun, the former police chief of Chongqing, went on trial today. Because China's political system is a black box, and because there is such a strong push by China's state-run media to push its own agenda, there's a lot about Wang Lijun that very few people know.
Here are the top 5 most common misconceptions about Wang Lijun.
Misconception #5. Wang Lijun Is a Fearless Crime Fighter
Forbes Magazine called Wang Lijun China's "Eliot Ness." Here's an excerpt from that article, published February 8, soon after he fled to the US Consulate in Chengdu:
"Much like Eliot Ness, Wang Lijun is a crusading lawman so well-known for taking down notorious organized crime syndicates that a film and television series on his exploits were reportedly under development."
Three months earlier, back before practically anyone in the West had heard of Wang Lijun, the New York Times had written this:
"Mr. Wang [Lijun] and Mr. Bo [Xilai] are local heroes for their aggressive action in smashing the gangs that ran the city for years, with 30 billion renminbi, or $4.7 billion, in annual loan-sharking businesses, as well as gambling, prostitution and other activities extending deep into daily life, officials said."
Crusading lawman? Local hero? Well no one is saying that now, I hope. But it does show us how challenging it is for Western media to get information on Chinese officials. Just because state-run media (at Wang's behest) made a flattering TV drama about him doesn't mean it's not mostly fictionalized.
To give a broader perspective, a few days after Wang's fateful journey to the consulate, we aired this story: Praised as Crime Fighters, Bo Xilai and Wang Lijun Built Careers on Torture
Wang Lijun was not exactly a nice guy. Torturing people to extract confessions? Doing live organ transplant experiments on non-consenting prisoners? Not exactly clean living.
And if you want to know more about Wang Lijun's unreported background—including why he's dressed up like a doctor in photos published by state media, watch this video from our show China Focus.
Misconception #4. Wang Lijun Acted on His Own to "Abuse Power"
On Wednesday, September 5, Xinhua reported that Wang Lijun was charged on four counts:
1. Bending the law for selfish ends
3. Abuse of power
The most interesting of those charges is "abuse of power," because it includes "illegally using technical reconnaissance measures." Read: "Wiretapping."
So state media kind of let the cat out of the bag here. As police chief, Wang Lijun was the guy who was supposed to handle wiretapping in Chongqing. So that wouldn't be a crime. Unless the wiretapping involved calls from officials at a higher rank than himself. And there's no reason why Wang—who had no hope of getting promoted any further unless it was alongside Bo Xilai—would have risked wireteapping top-ranking officials...unless Bo Xilai asked him to.
The fact that Wang is even being charged with this is actually a statement that someone above Wang Lijun, i.e. Bo Xilai, is also guilty of abuse of power. Wang would not have acted without Bo.
Misconception #3. Wang Lijun Covered Up the Heywood Murder to Protect Gu Kailai
Last November, Gu Kailai—Bo Xilai's wife—murdered British businessman Neil Heywood.
It's pretty clear that Wang Lijun, as police chief, knew about the murder, and was involved in the coverup somehow. But did Wang act on his own without instructions from higher up? And did he do it simply to protect Gu Kailai?
One of the four charges against Wang Lijun is "bending the law for selfish ends."
The prosecutor in Wang's case specifically described how Wang "had known beforehand that Gu Kailai was under serious suspicion of murdering Neil Heywood, and he consciously neglected his duty and bent the law for personal gain so that Gu Kailai would not be held legally responsible."
Sounds reasonable, right? The only problem is, it's a direct contradiction of the defection charge.
If Wang voluntarily covered up for Gu Kailai, why would he flee to the US consulate to reveal this? Did he think the US would give him asylum for covering up a murder?
In order to provide valuable intelligence to justify his asylum request, he must have revealed to the US that someone above him was trying to cover it up. That someone would have been Bo Xilai, because no one else tells Wang Lijun what to do.
In an article this week, the Wall Street Journal suggested that in January, Wang Lijun confronted Bo Xilai about Gu Kailai's involvement in the murder as a way to pressure Bo into protecting him from other political heat. But Bo refused to give in.
If it's true that Wang blackmailed Bo, then probably Bo had not initially instructed Wang to cover up the murder. But by letting it continue to be covered up, Bo is implicated too. And clearly Wang would only have attempted this if he cared more about protecting himself than about protecting Gu Kailai.
Misconception #2. Wang Lijun Fled to the US Consulate Over the Neil Heywood Murder
Many Western media have speculated about why Wang Lijun fled to the US consulate on February 6, 2012. The common explanation is that Wang confronted Bo Xilai about how Gu Kailai murdered Neil Heywood—and Bo refused to do anything.
In fact, that even seems to be the official party line.
As compelling as that sounds, it's not enough to make Wang risk his political career and even his life by going to the US consulate.
The fact is, Wang's flight to the consulate was his last-ditch effort to escape from something much bigger. The Communist Party faction controlled by Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao had long ago decided to take down Bo Xilai. As a way to get Bo, the Party's Discipline Inspection Committee, with support from Hu Jintao, started an investigation into Wang Lijun in 2011.
At their alleged meeting in January, Wang probably asked Bo for protection from that. But Bo decided that it would be safer to "get rid of" Wang—who knew everything about Bo's past—than to protect Wang. Thus Wang ran for his life. Possibly carrying evidence about Bo far more damning than the Neil Heywood murder—because if it was just about the Heywood murder, Wang himself would be a lot guiltier than Bo.
This video explains it in detail, including the five main reasons why Hu and Wen wanted to get rid of Bo Xilai, and how that spilled over to Wang Lijun and the Heywood case.
Misconception #1. Wang Lijun's Flight to the US Consulate Triggered a Power Struggle Within the Communist Party
A September 16 article in the Wall Street Journal says Wang Lijun's flight "triggered China's worst political crisis in more than two decades."
In reality, you can't trigger something that's already in motion. The Communist Party is facing a crisis because of a power struggle that's been ongoing for nine years—ever since Hu Jintao took over as China's leader from Jiang Zemin in 2003. Hu and Jiang never stopped struggling.
It seems more like a crisis now than it did before February for one simple reason: We know about it now.
The only thing the Wang Lijun consulate incident did was expose it. Could a provincial police chief really incite a top-level power struggle? No. He just brought it into the open. And for that, he will be severely, severely punished—"according to law," of course.
So what's the power struggle really about?
There's too much to go into detail here. But in short, it's because former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin built a second power center within the Party in order to carry out his political agenda. And that second power center has made it impossible for Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao to carry out their reforms. This video explains it in more detail.