mystery surrounds fate of famed china police chief

Bí ẩn vây quanh số phận  của cảnh sát trưởng nổi tiếng của Trung Quốc

Published February 08, 2012

| Associated Press

BEIJING  — The former top cop (trùm cảnh sát) of a major Chinese city has dropped from sight (biến mất) amid unconfirmed reports he is seeking U.S. asylum (tị nạn chính trị) following a quarrel with one of China’s most powerful local politicians.

Wang Lijun, a crusading lawman who made his name busting (phá vỡ) crime gangs (băng nhóm tội phạm) and inspired a drama (là đề tài cho một vở kịch) on state TV, has taken leave to recover from anxiety and overwork, the city government of Chongqing (Trùng Khánh) said in a statement Wednesday.

Wang, who also is a vice mayor (Phó Thị trưởng) of Chongqing, was shifted out (bị chuyển công tác) of his role as police chief last week, prompting speculation (làm phát sinh các đồn đoán) of a falling-out (sự thất sũng) with the city’s powerful Communist Party secretary (Bí thư), Bo Xilai, who is widely believed to be seeking national office (muốn leo lên vị trí ở trung ương).

The police chief may have fallen out of favor (bị thất sũng) because his 2008-2010 crackdown on criminal gangs strayed from (đi lệch khỏi) standard procedures and clashed with (xung đột) the central government’s current campaign to strengthen the rule of law (thượng tôn pháp luật), Beijing-based political analyst Li Fan said.

Days of speculation about his situation spiked with (xuất hiện nhiều) Wednesday online reports that he sought asylum at the American consulate in the nearby southwestern city of Chengdu on Tuesday after quarelling with Bo.

Employees of businesses near the Chengdu consulate (tòa lãnh sự) reported large numbers of police vehicles in the area on Tuesday night, but said the area was quiet on Wednesday.

Richard Buangan, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, declined to discuss (từ chối phát biểu về) those reports, but said there had been “no threat to the consulate yesterday, and the U.S. government did not request increased security around the compound (tòa nhà).”

Buangan said there would be no comment on the reports of an asylum bid (ý định, attempt; yêu cầu). Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told reporters he had no information on the matter.

A city government spokesman, who like many Chinese bureaucrats would give only his surname, Ye, said he could neither deny or confirm the reports of Wang’s asylum bid.

“We saw that on the Internet, too. I don’t have relevant information (thông tin liên quan) now,” Ye said.

In a sign of the sensitivity of the matter (tính nhạy cảm của vấn đề), search results for Wang and Bo were blocked (bị khóa) on China’s hugely popular Sina Weibo microblogging service (dịch vụ blog mini) and the comments sections attached to online reports about Wang were disabled (không thể kích hoạt).

Bo, who sits on (nằm trong) the Communist Party’s powerful 25-member Politburo, appointed Wang in 2008 to clean up the force (làm trong sạch lực lượng này) and take on (đương đầu với) organized crime in a campaign that drew national attention, as well as criticism that it ignored proper legal procedures (thủ tục pháp lý đúng luật).

Wang, a 52-year-old martial arts expert (chuyên gia võ thuật), entered law enforcement (ngành thi hành pháp luật) in 1984 and served more than two decades in northeast Liaoning (Liêu Ninh) province, where Bo was once governor. He won a reputation for personal bravery in confronting gangs and was once the subject of a TV drama called “Iron-Blooded Police Spirits.”

His law enforcement success led eventually to high political office and a seat in the national parliament (quốc hội), while his association with Bo gave him countrywide name recognition.

A former commerce minister, Bo is considered a leading “princeling” in the party, a reference to the offspring (con cái) of communist elders, whose connections and degrees from top universities have won them entry into the country’s elite (tầng lớp tinh hoa của đất nước).

Bo garnered (giành được, earned ) huge publicity for his anti-crime campaign and an accompanying drive (vận động) to revive communist songs and poems from the 1950s and 1960s, spurring talk that (làm người ta đồn rằng) he was seeking a promotion. Those campaigns have since fizzled (xì xọp, không thành công như kỳ vọng), leading analysts to pull back (rút lại ý kiến) on speculation that he might be elevated to higher office when the party begins a generational change in leadership later this year.

Chinese political analysts say Bo has been cutting ties with the advisers behind the “red songs” and anti-crime drives in hopes of reviving (làm sống lại) his political fortunes

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