Wang Lijun does not contest charges against him
Chinese ex-police chief Wang Lijun did not contest the charges against him, court officials have said today during his second day of trial.
The Chengdu trial of Wang Lijun for defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking began in secret on Monday and ended on Tuesday.
The verdict would be given at a later date, court officials said.
Wang Lijun’s flight to a US consulate in February sparked events leading to the downfall of top politician Bo Xilai.
Bo Xilai’s wife, Gu Kailai, was later convicted of killing the British businessman Neil Heywood and given a suspended death sentence, after a trial that lasted a day.
Wang Lijun is charged with helping cover up her crime.
China said Tuesday’s session was “public” but while state television may broadcast pictures later, access to the Intermediate People’s Court was tightly controlled and foreign media were kept outside.
But after the case ended a court official read out a statement saying the defendant did not contest the charges – leaving little doubt that the verdict, when it comes, will be a guilty one.
Although there was only moderate police presence outside the court, the sensitivity of the case was demonstrated by the fact the first day’s hearing was held in secret, because it involved issues of national security, said Wang Lijun’s lawyer, Wang Yuncai, who is not related to her client.
A brief report in state media said Wang Lijun was standing trial for ”bribe-taking and bending the law for selfish ends”.
”The Chengdu City Intermediate People’s Court held a closed-door trial Monday on Wang’s two other charges of defection and abuse of power,” said the Xinhua news agency report.
Earlier Chinese state media reports said the evidence against Wang Lijun was “concrete and abundant”.
The indictment against him said he knew that Gu Kailai was a murder suspect, but “consciously neglected his duty and bent the law for personal gain”, Xinhua reported.
According to the UK Foreign Office, Wang Lijun made allegations about Neil Heywood’s death while at the US consulate in Chengdu.
Shortly afterwards, Bo Xilai was sacked. Gu Kailai was accused and convicted in August of the murder of Neil Heywood.
Chinese media have been quiet on the trial and searches for Wang Lijun’s name and related terms have mostly been blocked on China’s Twitter-like weibo microblogs.
However, netizens have been using pseudonyms such as “head nurse” – a term that puns on ”deputy mayor” in Chinese – to make comments. Wang Lijun was the deputy mayor of Chongqing.
A microblog user in Guangzhou said: “Good luck, head nurse.”
“There should be a public holiday today, and the head nurse’s trial should be broadcast live on TV so people can have a chance to learn what is the rule of law,” said a microblog user in southern Zhuhai city.
The trial comes ahead of a key party leadership congress in China, expected in the coming weeks.
Wang Lijun’s flight to the US consulate proved an embarrassment for China and threw up issues involving diplomacy and state secrets, analysts say.
But most analysts expect him to be given a suspended death sentence, similar to the one handed to Gu Kailai.
At a separate trial on 10 August, four senior police officers from Chongqing admitted to charges of covering up evidence linking Gu Kailai to the murder. A court official said they had been given terms of between five and 11 years in prison, AFP reported.
Bo Xilai, Wang Lijun’s former boss in Chongqing, had been tipped for promotion to the top leadership ranks at the party congress before his downfall.
He has not been seen in public since the scandal erupted and is said to be under investigation by the party’s disciplinary officials. It is not clear if he will face any criminal charges himself.
Wang Lijun, 52, began his career in law enforcement in the Inner Mongolia Region in 1984 and moved to the southwestern city of Chongqing in 2008.
He had a reputation for being tough on organized crime and was once the subject of a TV drama called Iron-Blooded Police Spirits.