JINAN: Ousted senior Chinese politician Bo Xilai admitted to shaming his country and poorly handling a defection attempt by his former police chief after he told Bo his wife had committed murder, but Bo denied trying to protect her.
As police chief of Chongqing, where Bo was Communist Party chief until he was dramatically sacked early last year, Wang Lijun fled to the US consulate in Chengdu in February last year after confronting Bo with evidence that his wife Gu was involved in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.
After first helping Gu evade suspicion of poisoning Heywood, Wang hushed up evidence of the murder. Both Wang and Gu have been jailed for the murder. When Wang told Bo of his suspicions about Gu, he was angrily rebuked and had his ears boxed, according to state media.
Bo told the court he felt “ashamed” by Wang’s flight to the US mission which had reflected badly on the image of the party and country. “I wasn’t able to behave cooly at a critical juncture and I made serious errors in judgement,” Bo said, according to a court transcript. “So I bear some responsibility for Wang Lijun’s flight, but whether there was a crime or not is another matter,” Bo said. “I did not act illegally to show favouritism and protect Gu Kailai,” he said, adding, “In my mind, Gu Kailai is a weak and frail woman, she could not kill someone.
Bo ordered his mayor, Huang Qifan, and security personnel to besiege the US mission in Chengdu and take Wang into custody, even though he had no authority to mobilise security forces to grab someone in another city, sources also said. Wang was eventually coaxed out by officials from Beijing and taken to the capital. Bo denied sacking Wang because of the murder allegations against Gu, saying he had reassigned Wang for genuine health reasons.
Wang testified against Bo, saying he believed Bo sacked him to cover up the murder. Bo accepted responsibility for $817,000 in government funds he is accused of embezzling, which ended up in his wife’s bank account, saying he had let his attention wander. Bo said Wang Zhenggang, former director of the urban and rural planning bureau in Dalian, where Bo once served as mayor, told him in 2002 the money be used by Bo’s wife and son. “I refused. Afterwards, Wang Zhenggang told me why the money was difficult to deal with, and said if I was busy he could talk to Gu Kailai about it,” Bo said.