– LEAVING WITHOUT PERMISSION
On Feb. 2, 2012, Wang Lijun’s work division as Chongqing’s vice mayor was adjusted and he no longer served concurrently as chief of the municipality’s Public Security Bureau.
Moreover, in early February, three staff members working closely with Wang were put under illegal investigation. Wang felt he was in danger, giving rise to his idea to defect.
On Feb. 6, under the pretext of discussing business, Wang canceled his original work arrangements and entered the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu at 2:31 p.m. without permission.
Relevant organs in Chongqing confirmed that during that time, neither the Chongqing municipal Party committee nor the government needed a vice mayor to go to Chengdu to participate in any official activity. The municipality also did not need or arrange for a vice mayor, including Wang, to go to the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu to engage in foreign trade issues or diplomatic issues.
According to the indictment of the Chengdu People’s Procuratorate, after briefly discussing issues concerning environmental protection, education and science and technology with diplomats inside the U.S. consulate, Wang immediately claimed that his personal security was threatened because of his investigation of criminal cases. He asked the United States to provide shelter for him and filled out an application for political asylum.
Wang left the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu of his own volition at 11:35 p.m. on Feb. 7 through the persuasion and advice of relevant organs of Chongqing Municipality and central authorities. He said he would cooperate with investigations.
– REVEALING THE CASE
After leaving the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu, Wang Lijun told relevant state organs that Bogu Kailai was suspected of murdering Neil Heywood and provided relevant evidence and documents that he had accumulated.
Wang sent a letter to Li Yang and asked Li to turn in key material evidence, such as the blood from Heywood’s heart, to police who were reviewing the Neil Heywood case.
Prosecutors said the documents accumulated by the defendant Wang could prove that Bogu Kailai was suspected of murdering Neil Heywood.
After Wang left the U.S. consulate of his own volition, the Ministry of Public Security initiated a lawful review of the Neil Heywood case based on information provided by Wang.
On Aug. 20, 2012, the Hefei City Intermediate People’s Court in east China’s Anhui Province sentenced Bogu Kailai to death with a two-year reprieve for intentional homicide. Zhang Xiaojun, an accessory to the murder, was sentenced to nine years in prison.
MORE CRIMES UNCOVERED
During the investigation of Wang’s case, relevant authorities received a string of reports indicating that Wang was suspected of abusing power and taking bribes. Investigators paid great attention to the reports and collected relevant evidence after legal investigation and evidence-collecting procedures.
According to the indictment, Wang, then chief of Chongqing’s Public Security Bureau, violated the country’s laws and regulations by using technical reconnaissance measures on a number of people since 2010, either without the approval of authorities or by forging approval documents. These acts have severely undermined the socialist legal system and infringed citizens’ legitimate rights and interests.
Xinhua learnt from the courtroom the following major facts regarding Wang’s bribe-taking accusation.
In April 2009, when Wang served as the chief of Chongqing’s Public Security Bureau, one of Wang’s immediate family members was transferred to a working position in Beijing. Not having a residence in Beijing, the family member of Wang received two apartments in Beijing bought by Xu Ming, board chairman of the Dalian Shide Group Co. Ltd. at a price of 2.85 million yuan (449,583 U.S. dollars). The apartments were registered under the name of Wang’s father-in-law. After the deal, Wang gave his thanks to Xu in person.
In July of the same year, Wang, at the request of Xu, instructed law enforcement departments in Chongqing to release three people, respectively surnamed Pan, Wang and Zhang, who were under detention.
Moreover, Yu Junshi, legal representative of the Dalian Shiyuan Trade Co. Ltd., made two payments totaling 200,000 yuan in September 2008, when Wang Lijun was the executive deputy chief of Chongqing’s Public Security Bureau, and in November 2009, when he was Chongqing’s Public Security Bureau chief, to cover the rent for Wang’s villa in Chongqing. In October 2009, Wang, at the request of Yu, ordered law enforcement departments in Chongqing to release a person surnamed Yang who was under detention.
While being investigated, Wang produced important clues that exposed serious offenses committed by others. Such clues played a key role in the investigation of other cases.
At the courtroom, Wang’s defender pleaded for a mitigated punishment for Wang after fully expressing relevant views. The defender said that Wang left the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu by his own will, an act that should be regarded as a termination of defection and thus should result in a mitigated punishment or no punishment. Wang also voluntarily surrendered while being investigated for bending the law for selfish ends, meaning that his crime’s circumstances should be regarded as “serious” instead of “especially serious,” the defender said, requesting that the court fully consider these factors.
The prosecution said Wang’s defection belongs to conduct crime which should be taken as a complete offense as long as it was carried out. The defendant, with premeditation, entered the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu under the pretense of negotiating business and stayed in the consulate to write an application for political asylum. Wang’s behavior constitutes a complete offense.
Wang voluntarily surrendered after defecting and confessed related information about the major facts concerning his defection, such behavior constitutes voluntary surrender, the prosecution said. According to Article 67 of the Criminal Law, there could be lighter or mitigated punishment.
Wang, as the chief of Chongqing’s Public Security Bureau, failed to perform his investigation duties regarding the serious crime of intentional homicide, and he played a key role in bending the law for selfish ends. The crime should be regarded as “especially serious,” according to the prosecution.
Wang later ordered his Chongqing police subordinates to collect and preserve evidence regarding the murder case involving Bogu Kailai. He also reported the possible involvement of Bogu Kailai to the authorities, provided evidence and willingly assisted in the reinvestigation of the case. Since Wang played a crucial role in helping public security authorities to crack the case, the penalty for his crime of bending the law for personal gain could be lighter, the prosecution said.
Moreover, Wang produced important clues that exposed serious offenses committed by others and played a key part in the investigation of the cases, which could be considered as major meritorious service. According to Article 68 of the Criminal Law, Wang could be given a mitigated punishment, the prosecution said.
Wang’s case has been holding the world’s attention. Investigatory, procuratorial and judicial authorities have taken the facts as the basis and the law as the criterion, and handled the case strictly in accordance with the law in the process of the investigation, prosecution and trials.
During the investigation period, the State Security Bureau of Chengdu in Sichuan, the Hefei City People’s Procuratorate in Anhui Province and the Sichuan Province People’s Procuratorate, respectively, carried out meticulous investigation and interrogation plans, questioning parties involved in the case and many people who knew about the case and collected and verified a huge amount of evidence. They also informed Wang of his right to retain defense counsel.
During the phase for the approval of the arrest and prosecution, the prosecuting body thoroughly and meticulously examined the evidence collected and put together by the investigating body in a timely manner, and provided multiple suggestions for further investigation. The prosecuting body also sent the criminal suspect a letter to inform him of his rights and responsibilities as well as his right to entrust a defense counsel to represent him. The defense counsel entrusted by Wang examined, extracted and copied case files in accordance with the law.
After the defendant was indicted, the Chengdu City Intermediate People’s Court formed a collegial panel, sent duplicates of the indictment to the defendant, publicized the time and location of the trials, sent subpoenas for the trials and notices to attend court to the defendant and his defense counsel, informed them of their litigation rights and safeguarded the defense counsel’s rights to meet Wang and examine, extract and copy case files in accordance with laws.
Before the trials, Wang’s defense counsel met with him 15 times. Wang Yuncai, Wang Lijun’s defender and a lawyer with the Beijing-based Longan Law Firm’s Shenyang Office, said in court that the defense counsel met the defendant many times and examined the case files before the trials.
Gu Mingan, a professor with the Law School of the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics as well as an observer at the trials, said the two sides made full efforts to raise and cross-examine evidence during the trials, and the court scrupulously heard the opinions of the prosecutors as well as the defense counsel, fully reflecting the judicial concept of the equality of the prosecution and the defense, and safeguarded the sanctity of law.
After the trials, Wu Qunfang, a resident from the Taoyuan community in the Chenghua District of Chengdu, said that after the trials they have fully understood the beginning and subsequent development of Wang Lijun’s case.
“We believe that all is equal before the law and expect a fair verdict from the people’s court,” Wu said.