The trial of Wang Lijun, the former police chief of Chongqing and right hand man to disgraced Politburo member and Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai, began in secret on Monday, according to reports.
Wang Yuncai, Wang Lijun’s lawyer (and no relation) told The Daily Telegraph that the trial began at 8:30 a.m. and ended at noon.
“The trial has two parts, private and public,” she said, according to the Telegraph. “Today is the private part because it involves state secrets—it was about the two charges of defection and bending the law for his own ends.” Wang Yuncai is the director of the Beijing L&A law firm in Shenyang, a city in the northeast.
The official start date for the trial is actually Tuesday. Though it was supposed to be an open trial, all seats happened to be reserved immediately with the announcement.
Public security forces on Monday had surrounded the People’s Intermediate Courthouse in Chengdu, where the trial is scheduled to be held. According to the Telegraph, a local official denied the trial had actually started.
A journalist with the newspaper said he was quickly surrounded by public security officers wielding video cameras and radios, filming him in case of “potential accidents,” he wrote after the incident on Twitter.
Wang Lijun started a major political scandal in China after he attempted to defect to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu in February. Wang Lijun is believed to have revealed first to U.S. Consulate officials and then to Party officials: the details concerning the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood by Bo Xilai’s wife, Gu Kailai; other crimes by Bo and Gu, including their involvement in forced, live organ harvesting; and a plot by Bo and domestic security czar Zhou Yongkang to take power from the presumptive next head of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, after he assumes leadership.
Soon after Wang’s attempted defection, his boss, Bo Xilai, was stripped of his Party posts, and Gu Kailai was arrested, among other changes. The incident brought into the open factional infighting in the CCP that is currently focused on how Bo Xilai’s case should be handled, even as the Party’s biggest leadership changeover in a decade is scheduled for this fall.
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Editor’s Note: When Chongqing’s former top cop, Wang Lijun, fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6, he set in motion a political storm that has not subsided. The battle behind the scenes turns on what stance officials take toward the persecution of Falun Gong. The faction with bloody hands—the officials former CCP head Jiang Zemin promoted in order to carry out the persecution—is seeking to avoid accountability for their crimes and to continue the campaign. Other officials are refusing any longer to participate in the persecution. Events present a clear choice to the officials and citizens of China, as well as people around the world: either support or oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. History will record the choice each person makes.