Bo Xilai

Remarks fuel speculation on probe of Wang

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 March, 2012, 12:00am

An investigation into disgraced Chongqing vice-mayor Wang Lijun is not being handled by the Communist Party's disciplinary watchdog, a top official from the agency confirmed yesterday.

The comments fuelled an earlier rumour that Wang was being investigated by the state security apparatus instead of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

'No, he does not fall under the jurisdiction [of the CCDI],' Minister of Supervision Ma Wen, who is also the commission's deputy secretary, said on the first day of the Chinese People's Political and Consultative Conference annual meeting.

Ma also said she had not received any 'official notice' on Wang's case.

The case of Wang, a former right-hand man of controversial Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai, has dominated mainland news in the past month after he was found to have spent a night at the US consulate in Chengdu, Sichuan, on February 6.

Speculation revolves around how his apparent rift with his former boss will affect the political future of Bo, a rising princeling-politician, as a top leadership reshuffle looms.

One rumour is that Wang had demanded that his actions be investigated by the Ministry of State Security rather than the disciplinary commission, in which Bo has many close allies.

Microblog users fuelled this speculation when they discovered, through an inspection of flight records, that Wang was accompanied by deputy chief of state security Qiu Jin on a flight to Beijing on February 8.

At the opening of the CPPCC meeting, Bo appeared relaxed on stage, smiling and waving at people off stage before sitting down to listen to a work report by CPPCC chairman Jia Qinglin .

He took his usual seat at the far right of the stage, although he made a pretty swift exit at the end of the session and did not interact much with other officials.

Earlier yesterday, Bo and Chongqing mayor Huang Qifan reported on the municipality's construction and achievements to the disciplinary commission's secretary and former Chongqing chief He Guoqiang , who visited Chongqing's National People's Congress delegates at their hotel, China News Service reported.

Members of the Politburo Standing Committee take turns to visit delegations from across the mainland during the annual NPC, and He had visited the Chongqing team in the past two years as well.

He said the visit reminded him of the three years when he was Chongqing party secretary.

On Friday, CPPCC spokesman Zhao Qizheng also tried to send a positive signal when asked whether Wang's case would affect the central government's confidence in Chonqging's leadership.

Zhao said the investigation was progressing well, and described Wang's case as an isolated incident that people should not read too much into.

He confirmed that Wang, also a NPC delegate, had applied for leave from the meeting this year.