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US Congress Seeks Answers About Wang Lijun Defection

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Published on Feb 20, 2012

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The US House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee has asked the State Department to explain why they rejected asylum for the high-profile Chinese defector Wang Lijun. Congress also wants the release of the information Wang handed over, which could potentially ruin the career of the powerful Chinese official, Bo Xilai.

The US Congress is keen to know what information Wang Lijun gave over to the US consulate in Chengdu when he spent a night there on February 6th.

But the State Department is still deciding whether to hand over the information. Some believe that information could give incriminating evidence about the Chongqing Communist Party secretary Bo Xilai that could stop his ascension to the nine-member board that rules China.

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee and is known as a fierce critic of the Chinese regime, has written to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking whether Wang was denied asylum.

She said in the letter that reports on the case "raise questions about whether Mr. Wang sought asylum protection from the United States and, if so, what steps were taken to secure US national interests and Mr. Wang's personal safety."

She also asked for all cables, email and any other correspondence that occurred in relation to the incident.

The State Department said it was working on Ros-Lehtinen's request.

Mr. Wang was one of Bo Xilai's top aides in a crackdown against triads and senior officials that led to thousands of arrests and more than ten executions in China's southwestern city of Chongqing.

His visit to the US consulate came days before the appointed Vice President Xi Jinping visited Washington, and giving him asylum would have created a major diplomatic row.

Wang is now believed to be in Chinese custody although his whereabouts are not known.

Bo Xilai was widely seen as in the running to become one of the nine-member standing committee that has the final say in Chinese rule, but the incident may have ruined his career prospects.

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