Profile: Wang Lijun

Wang Lijun, file pic, 2008 Wang Lijun's visit to the US consulate marked the beginning of the end for Bo Xilai

Former high-flying policeman Wang Lijun was the public trigger for the scandal that engulfed his mentor, former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai.

It was his flight to the US consulate in Chengdu on 6 February 2012 that set off a chain of events that rocked the Chinese leadership.

Reports emerged that he had gone there to seek assistance after falling out with Mr Bo over an investigation into the death of a British businessman, Neil Heywood.

Mr Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, has since been convicted of Mr Heywood's murder. Mr Bo has been sacked from all his official posts.

And Wang has been jailed for 15 years after being convicted of "bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power and bribetaking".

'Police superstar'

Wang was born in December 1959 to an ethnic Mongolian father and a Han Chinese mother. He is also known as Unen Baatar, which means "rising sun hero".

He spent his time in rural villages as a "rusticated youth" during the Cultural Revolution before picking up secretarial work in the army.

TIMELINE: BO XILAI SCANDAL

  • 6 Feb: Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun flees to the US consulate in Chengdu and spends the night. Many believe he went to seek asylum.
  • 15 Mar: China announces that Bo Xilai has been removed from his post in Chongqing.
  • 20 Mar: Rumours suggest Mr Bo could be linked to the death of British businessman Neil Heywood, who died in Chongqing in November 2011 and that Wang had fallen out with Mr Bo over a probe into the case.
  • 10 Apr: Mr Bo Xilai is suspended from party posts and his wife, Gu Kailai, is being investigated over Mr Heywood's death.
  • 26 July: Gu and Bo family employee Zhang Xiaojun are charged with killing Mr Heywood.
  • 9 Aug: Gu goes on trial for murder
  • 20 Aug: Gu given suspended death sentence for Mr Heywood's murder
  • 5 Sep: Wang charged with defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking
  • 24 Sep: Wang sentenced to 15 years in jail

He first become a police constable in Liaoning in 1984 and gradually climbed up the ladder to become a police chief, earning two master's degrees in business administration through remote learning.

In 2008, Wang was appointed deputy police chief in Chongqing. He led a major crackdown against gang activities that was one of Bo Xilai's high-profile policies.

He reportedly led the arrest of his predecessor Wen Qiang, who was the highest-ranking official charged in connection with the scandal. Wen was executed in July 2010.

The crackdown made Wang a popular figure in the municipality. He was praised as Chongqing's "hero gang buster", and even became the subject of a TV drama.

A 2011 report by Global People - a magazine under the Global Times newspaper - said local gang masters put a bounty on his head.

Wang was promoted to police chief in March 2009 and appointed Chongqing's vice-mayor in May 2011.

Instead of the iron-fist image that he demonstrated during the organised crime crackdown, local official media promoted him as friendly and approachable.

For instance a Chongqing Economic Times report in August 2011 said Wang picked up taxi driver shifts in order to gauge public opinion on security by chatting with passengers.

'Personal gain'

But his fall from grace was rapid. On 2 February, the municipal government announced he was no longer the city's police chief. He was reassigned to look after education, environment and cultural policies.

This was seen as the first public confirmation of his fall-out with Mr Bo.

Four days later he went into the US consulate. He then emerged to undergo "holiday-style treatment" for intensive work stress, the authorities said, and disappeared from public view.

Announcing his dismissal from the party in April, Li Yuanchao, the head of the organisation department, called Wang's visit to the US consulate a "serious incident with very bad consequences".

At his trial in Chengdu in September, the indictment against Wang said he knew that Gu Kailai was a murder suspect, but "consciously neglected his duty and bent the law for personal gain", state news agency Xinhua reported.

A court official said after the two-day hearing that he had not contested the charges. Following his conviction and sentencing, Wang said he would not appeal the verdict, state media reported.

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