Two Chinese Journalists Investigated for Posting a Wang Lijun Text Message

April 17, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Wang Lijun
Wang Lijun, former Chief of Chongqing Public Security Bureau, in March, 2011. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Beijing Police have been investigating two journalists for spreading a text message from Wang Lijun that is related to the Bo Xilai and Neil Heywood investigation cases.

In February Chu Chaoxin, an investigative reporter with Southern Weekend, an outspoken magazine based in Guangzhou, received a text message from Wang Lijun’s cell phone, implying that Bo Xilai’s wife had information on the death of British businessman Neil Heywood.

In March Chu posted the message on Sina microblog using the computer of his friend Wang Xijing, a reporter at 21st Century Business Herald, a Guangzhou-based financial newspaper. 

Subsequently Beijing police detained Wang Xijing as part of an investigation into the source of the online message.

According to a report by Ming Pao, Hong Kong based media, Chu was making a call to Wang Lijun’s cell phone on Feb. 6 at the time Wang Lijun was entering the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu, but Wang did not answer until Feb. 15, when Chu received the text message from Wang Lijun’s cell phone, implicating Bo Xilai’s wife. 

Chu’s microblog said Wang Lijun’s text message alleged that Bo’s wife could help break the murder case of Briton Neil Heywood. 

Reportedly, Chu Chaoxin microblogged again on the morning of March l4, saying: “It cannot be denied that I’m the first one to bring up the name of Neil Haywood. Yesterday, the authorities, tried to get in touch with me. They have harassed my friend and detained her on the ground of having no temporary residence permit. After the detention, the authorities apologized in a microblog. It turns out that the information about Neil Heywood (on the Internet) is not a rumor at all. If they need to put a truth-teller in jail, I would like to be the man who receives historical credit for revealing the truth. If they put me in jail, my friends don’t have to rescue me—just remember to widely circulate this historic episode.”

The “friend” that Chu referred to is Wang Xijing, who was picked up by three policemen on the previous evening. Wang said in a microblog that she was detained just because her friend [Chu] posted a microblog from her home computer. The police traced the IP address to her home.

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On March 15, Bo Xilai was stripped of his post as the secretary of Chongqing municipality. 

The cell phone number in question is currently not known, and the related microblog posts have been deleted. 

Chu declined requests for more details by Ming Pao on March 15, saying it was “not convenient.”

Wang Xijing also declined Ming Pao’s request for additional details, stating that she and Chu Chaoxin are no longer targets of police investigation.

On April 10 Bo was further stripped of his Party posts in the Politburo, and the CCP Central Committee and is now under the investigation by the Communist Party’s Disciplinary Committee, according to Xinhua. In addition, Bo’s wife Gu Kalai” is under homicide investigation for the Neil Heywood death.

Wang Lijun is also said to be under investigation and has not been seen or heard of since being taken away by Beijing security personnel on Feb. 7. Chinese leader Hu Jintao officially labeled Wang a “traitor” on March 3.

Bo Xilai had been on track to occupy one of the Party’s top positions before being ousted. He was supported by former Party Chairman Jiang Zemin and the powerful security chief Zhou Yongkang, who has been in control of the Armed Police. 

But Zhou may also be marked for ousting in the furious power struggle raging at the highest Party level, which was unexpectedly exposed when Wang Lijun tried to defect to the U.S. Consulate and incidentally spilled the beans. 

On April 12 the People’s Armed Police, along with the military declared their loyalty to Party Central and to the leadership of Hu Jintao. This is an indication that Zhou was indeed perceived as a threat but is losing his ground.

The troubles the regime faces are likely far greater than the issue of solving the death of British businessman Neil Heywood.

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