Trial of Chinese police chief Wang Lijun ends

 

The trial of an ex-police chief at the centre of a divisive political scandal in China has ended, bringing the country's leadership closer to resolving a case that exposed infighting and hit plans for a transfer of power to new leaders.

The Intermediate Court in the central city of Chengdu did not issue a verdict following the two half-day sessions in which it heard charges that Wang Lijun tried to defect, abused his power, took bribes and ignored the laws.

Wang's lawyer declined to comment other than to confirm the trial had concluded.

The most explosive charges against Wang - defection and abuse of power - were heard in a closed-door hearing and were connected to his unexpected visit to the US consulate in Chengdu in February, which triggered the scandal.

During a 33-hour stay, Wang disclosed that British businessman Neil Heywood, who was found dead in November, had been murdered and that the wife of his boss, senior politician Bo Xilai, was involved.

The move led to Bo being ousted from the communist leadership and his wife's conviction for murder, while consuming Chinese leaders' energies just as they were choosing the country's next generation of leaders.

Wang's trial clears the way for the leadership to deal with the scandal's stickiest issue: whether to expel Bo from the party and prosecute him.

China's leaders appear to still be in damage-control mode, and they have yet to announce a date for a party congress to install the new leadership, though it is expected in mid to late October.

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