The former police chief of Chongqing, Wang Lijun, connected to the once-powerful Bo Xilai, was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Chinese court in Chengdu because of his involvement in the Bo Xilai scandal that has rocked the PRC’s political establishment since it emerged that Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, was responsible for the poisoning of British national Neill Heywood.
Wang Lijun was the whistleblower in the Bo Xilai case. The case erupted in a public controversy when Wang attempted to seek asylum in the U.S. Consulate in Chongqing. The court in Chengdu likely weighed his cooperation with authorities when deciding his sentence. Wang was formally charged with covering up a crime, defection, illegal wiretapping, and corruption. He will serve some of his sentences concurrently.
The Bo Xilai scandal has captivated a nation keen to find fault with prominent political officials. Hu Shuli, an editor for Caixin, a popular magazine in the People’s Republic of China, wrote a damning article exposing the corruption in Chongqing revolving around Bo Xilai and how his lieutenants scrambled to coverup crimes and curry favor with their bosses.
Bo Xilai was a controversial populist politician eyed for a seat on the Politburo prior to his downfall. Known for his revival of ‘red era’ songs and Maoist themes, Bo did not make many friends among the more staid Communist nomenklatura in Beijing. If found guilty of coverup Bo could face the death sentence.
The ruling on Wang Lijun follows the sentencing of Bo Xilai’s wife, Gu Kailai, to life in prison.