US State Department Briefs House on Wang Lijun Incident

April 26, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. (Roberto Koltun)

WASHINGTON—The State Department this morning held a private briefing for members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on how the agency handled Wang Lijun’s unexpected visit, and attempted defection, to the United States consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6 this year.

Wang was the chief of police and deputy mayor of the southwestern city of Chongqing. His visit, reportedly an attempt to defect, set off a chain reaction that resulted in the ouster of his boss, former Party chief of the city and member of the elite Politburo, Bo Xilai. Reverberations of the defection and its attendant political scandals are still being felt in China and abroad.

“Committee Members received information this morning in a classified setting” about the Wang Lijun incident, Bradley R. Goehner, Communications Director of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs wrote in an email to The Epoch Times in response to a question.

No more information was provided. Another question about the details of the meeting did not receive a response.

The chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs is Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. In February she wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking for an explanation of how U.S. diplomatic officials dealt with Wang. 

On Feb. 15, Ros-Lehtinen wrote in a media release that she was “disappointed about reports that the U.S. turned away Wang Lijun, a high-ranking Chinese official seeking asylum. This decision appears to have been made to avoid ’embarrassing’ China…” 

Wang’s entry to the U.S. consulate and his attempted defection, took place just before the presumptive next leader of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping, was due to visit the United States.

The State Department did not immediately respond to questions about the briefing.

With reporting by Jenny Jing.

Click to read about the most recent developments in the ongoing power struggle within the Chinese communist regime. In this special topic, we provide readers with the necessary context to understand the situation. Get the RSS feed. Get the Timeline of Events. Who are the Major Players? Chinese Regime in Crisis RSS Feed