By M. Ulric Killion
Photo: Police outside U.S. consulate in Chengdu, China, February 7, 2012, BBC.
I earlier posted an article about the mysterious disappearance of Wang Lijun, the Deputy Mayor of Chongqing. In China, rumors were earlier circulating via China’s social media that Wang was at the U.S. embassy in nearby Chengdu, where he was seeking to defect. The rumors followed suspicions about his disappearance for a period of about twenty-four hours. Today, there was at least a confirmation of the rumor that Wang was at the U.S. embassy in Chengdu.
As reported by BBC News (Feb 9, 2012),
The mystery surrounding one of China’s top police chiefs has deepened after the US government confirmed he visited one of its consulates.
Some are speculating that Wang Lijun was seeking asylum, although the US state department said it could not comment on that issue. . . .
There has been speculation for several days about the fate of Wang Lijun following a disturbance outside the US consulate in Chengdu earlier this week.
Chengdu is just a few hours drive from Chongqing, where Mr Wang is also the deputy mayor.
People reported seeing swarms of police officers, who set up roadblocks outside the consulate.
Posting comments on Chinese micro-blog sites, some said a SUV-style vehicle with a Chongqing number plate was hauled away by the police.
Speaking in Washington, US state department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said: “Wang Lijun did request a meeting at the US consulate general in Chengdu earlier this week.”
In carefully-worded comments she added: “He did visit the consulate and he later left the consulate of his own volition.”
Ms Nuland said the state department did not talk about issues related to those seeking refugee status or asylum.
Mr Wang was removed from his post as head of Chongqing’s police department last week and given other duties.
Then on Wednesday the city government’s news department said on its micro-blog site that he had gone on leave.
“It is understood that Vice-Mayor Wang Lijun, who has suffered overwork and immense mental stress for a long time, is seriously physically indisposed. After agreement, he is currently taking holiday-style medical treatment,” read the tweet.
Wang Lijun, 52, headed an attack on organised crime in Chongqing that saw hundreds of people arrested, including the former head of the city’s judicial authorities. . . .
Source: Michael Bristow, Chongqing policeman Wang Lijun mystery deepens, February 9, 2012.
However, the disappearance of Wang remains a mystery with many unanswered questions. In China, people are generally in a state of disbelief, because it is difficult to speculate why he would disappear for so long a period, and more importantly, why go to the U.S. embassy.
The rumors now run the gambit from political defection, asylum, to stress from overwork. None of which adequately explains his disappearance, especially that of a Chinese official spending the night in a U.S. embassy.
The greater mystery is what was he doing at the U.S. embassy and why did he leave.
In the interim, while U.S. officials are not divulging any of the specifics regarding a meeting with Wang, one suspects that Chinese officials will insist on specific details of this meeting.
For this reason, it is reasonable to suspect that the mystery (or case) of Wang will remain an open mystery until such time.
See also Wang Lijun, Crime Fighter, Is Said to Have Tried to Defect, Posted February 9, 2012:
Wang Lijun, the deputy mayor of Chongqing, attended a conference in the city on Jan. 7. Chongqing authorities said in a statement that Mr. Wang had taken sick leave. Reuters.
By Ian Johnson, Feb 8, 2012 — BEIJING — In a sign that China’s political season is heating up, reports circulated widely on Wednesday that one of the country’s most famous crime fighters had tried to defect to the United States.
The reports were impossible to confirm, but China’s social media were filled with speculation about the fate of Wang Lijun, a onetime rising star in the western megacity of Chongqing, where he had been the deputy mayor overseeing public security. . . .
Copyright © Protected – All Rights Reserved M. Ulric Killion, 2012.