1,300 sidelined police officers lodge appeals
More than 1,300 Chongqing police officers who were sidelined by former police chief Wang Lijun have appealed for their cases to be re-examined, with almost half already under review, sources in the municipality say.
'More than 1,300 rank-and-file and middle-ranking officers have sent their petition letters to the Communist Party's municipal disciplinary inspection commission after the downfall of Wang,' said a source close to Chongqing's police force. 'More than 500 have been accepted by the discipline watchdog after a preliminary screening process.'
Former Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai dismissed Wang as director of the municipality's Public Security Bureau in early February. Wang then fled Chongqing and sought refuge in the United States consulate in Chengdu, the capital of neighbouring Sichuan province. He left the consulate after a stay of 36 hours and was taken to Beijing by state security officials.
Wang was sacked as a vice-mayor of Chongqing on March 15, the day Bo was dismissed as party secretary.
The source said many officers had received demerits or been demoted or transferred to meaningless positions for committing tiny, careless mistakes. Some had arrived at their offices without wearing their uniforms, while others had been a bit late in turning up for work.
The source said Wang had implemented very strict rules within the force. His subordinates had to line up for food and were banned from chatting while eating at the canteen.
'Wang once made a sudden appearance outside the front door of the canteen in the police headquarters, along with one of his lawyer friends,' the source said. 'The originally noisy canteen quietened down immediately. It was an awkward and embarrassing occasion.'
A one-time national crime-busting hero, Wang was well known for his tight grip on the police over the years. In carrying out Bo's crackdown on triad crime, Wang brought down dozens, if not hundreds, of police officers at different levels in Chongqing, including deputy police chief Wen Qiang , who was later executed for corruption.
In the name of uprooting the 'protective umbrella' enjoyed by the municipality's rampant crime syndicates, Wang ordered all police in leadership roles to step down from their positions and reapply through open recruitment in early 2010.
Wang allegedly filled key posts with his own men from his power base in the northeastern province of Liaoning and elsewhere.
Many local police hated Wang's strict administration and the extra work he placed on them.
A source who knew Wang said he had been well aware of the risk of attack from allies of the triad bosses he arrested and police officers he brought down, and had been living inside the Public Security Bureau before fleeing to Chengdu.
Wang is facing trial for treason.
Nearly this many people were arrested in the crackdown on crime launched in 2009 by Bo Xilai and spearheaded by Wang Lijun