Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Another Way to Disappear

Wang Lijun before his "vacation-style treatment"
Something strange is happening in Chongqing.

Last week Wang Lijun, the police chief there who was known for spearheading the anti-gang crackdowns in Chongqing for party chief Bo Xilai, was suddenly reassigned another post.

Last Thursday Chongqing's information office said he was given the post of looking after economic affairs. But a few hours later the office amended its message to say the 53-year-old would be in charge of issues including education, the environment and industrial and commercial management.

When someone is reassigned to a junior post it is usually a euphemism for being investigated for corruption of that he fell out with his patron Bo.

However things got stranger earlier today.

There was an incident at the United States embassy in Chengdu, several hours drive from Chongqing, where there are rumours Wang tried to seek asylum.

There are reports the embassy was surrounded by a heavy police presence, and even roads to the building were blocked off.

Microbloggers circulated pictures of the scene where they claimed a car with official license plates had been seen inside the building but was later removed by police.

The Chongqing information office claimed Wang was being treated for stress. "According to information, because of long-term overwork, vice-mayor Wang Lijun is highly stressed and in poor health. He is now accepting vacation-style treatment."

This is a new euphemism -- "vacation-style treatment". What does this mean?

In any event the US embassy in Beijing refused to comment due to the run-up to Vice President Xi Jingping's upcoming visit to Washington next week.

Many believe this incident is a political blow to Bo, who has high hopes of rising up in the political ranks later this year and now this scandal has occurred.

But more importantly, will we ever see Wang again? Or will he forever have "vacation-style treatment".

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