Swift and measured justice is the order of the day in political China. Next week, Wang Lijun, 52, the former police chief and hatchet man for disgraced Chongqing party boss, Bo Xilai, will go on trial in Chengdu on charges of defection, taking bribes and legal surveillance.
The hearing isn’t likely to last more than a day. Not a lot of new detail will emerge.
Wang fled to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu in February, staying there for 24 hours and starting the chain of events that let to Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, being convicted for the murder of British businessmen Neil Heywood. State media has not said whether Wang intends to contest any of the charges against him–as Gu did not against hers–not that doing so would necessary reduce his chances of being convicted.
Bribery charges can be capital offenses and defection charges can carry life imprisonment. The Party leadership will want to maintain the narrative that it has been laying down, that this is a self-contained case and not one symptomatic of a deeper malaise within the Chinese body politic. Gu received a suspended death sentence last month after confessing to Heywood’s murder but going along with the Party line. Wang is likely to do the same.