* Former police chief confesses to defection charges, court
* Sought to conceal murder of British man, court says
* No mention of disgraced former top leader Bo Xilai in
By Terril Yue Jones
CHENGDU, China, Sept 18 A former police chief
who revealed China's biggest political scandal in two decades
admitted defection and did not contest charges of taking bribes
and illegal surveillance at his two-day trial ending Tuesday, a
court official said.
Wang Lijun, ex-police chief of southwestern Chongqing
municipality, sought to conceal the murder of a British
businessman by the wife of one of the nation's most senior and
ambitious politicians, Bo Xilai, said an official account of the
Foreign reporters were barred from attending the trial amid
tight security around the court house.
A spokesman for the Chengdu Intermediate Court read out a
statement to reporters at a nearby hotel, but no mention was
made of Bo.
"The accused Wang Lijun voluntarily gave himself up after
committing the crime of defection, and then gave a truthful
account of the main crimes involved in his defection," court
spokesman Yang Yuq ua n sa id, referring to his dramatic flight to
the U.S. consulate in Chengdu in February.
The official statement said Wang, who was shown on state
television looking relaxed during the hearing, exposed leads to
major crimes committed by unnamed others.
The charges against Wang carry sentences ranging from a
lengthy jail term to life in prison and the death penalty.
Sentencing is expected within 10 days.
"The accused Wang Lijun exposed leads concerning major
criminal offences by others, and played an important role in
investigating and dealing with the cases concerned," said the
official statement published by state media.
Wang's trial was closely watched for any evidence that Bo
had ordered Wang to cover up his wife's involvement in the
murder -- a sign that Bo himself could be next to face trial.
So far, Bo has only been accused of breaching internal party
The Bo scandal has rocked Beijing, exposing rifts within the
party -- elements of which are strong supporters of Bo's
populist, left-leaning policies -- at a time when China is
preparing for a once-in-a-decade leadership change.
Wang, 52, lifted the lid on the murder and cover-up of a
British businessman in February when he went to a U.S. consulate
and, according to sources, told envoys there about the murder
that would later bring down Bo.
Within two months of Wang's 24-hour visit to the consulate,
Bo was sacked as party boss and from the ruling Communist
Party's Politburo and Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was accused of
poisoning the businessman. Gu has since been given a suspended
death sentence for the killing in late 2011.
SHROUDED IN SECRECY
Wang's trial started on Monday in the city of Chengdu, the
city where Wang staged his dramatic flight to the U.S.
consulate, with an unannounced closed-door session to hear
charges of defection and abuse of power, Xinhua state news
An "open trial" to hear charges of bribe taking and "bending
the law for selfish ends" was held on Tuesday, said Xinhua. But
the trial remained behind closed doors in the imposing, grey
stone Chengdu City Intermediate People's Court.
The prosecutors said Wang "clearly knew that Bogu Kailai was
a major suspect in a case of intentional homicide, and
deliberately concealed that so she would not be prosecuted,"
Bogu is the official but rarely used surname of Bo Xilai's wife,
However, Wang decided to later reopen the investigation
"The defendant exposed other people's serious crimes and
played a crucial role in the investigations of relevant cases,
making a major contribution, and thus may see his punishment
reduced," said the statement.
Chinese experts believe Wang may receve a jail term from 15
years to life, but if the death penalty is imposed it would be
commuted, as in the Gu Kailai case.
Bo had been considered a strong candidate for the next top
leadership team, which is expected to be unveiled at the party's
18th congress next month. Vice President Xi Jinping is seen as
all but certain to take over as party chief and inherit the
challenge of trying to heal internal wounds.
Xi will then succeed Hu Jintao as president in March.
Wang has been a close confidante of Bo and, according to the
official case, he originally agreed to cover up Gu's involvement
before reversing course, fleeing to the Americans and lifting
the lid on the alleged cover-up. It is not clear what happened
in the consulate, but he eventually left the U.S. mission to go
into the custody of Chinese authorities.