China's riveting case of political intrigue continues to unfold, with no clear answers about what has happened to perhaps the country's best-known corruption fighter.
Following confirmation from the US State Department that former Chongqing police head and Deputy Mayor Wang Lijun turned up for a meeting at the US Consulate in Chengdu this week and left on his own volition, China's news media broke its silence on the matter.
The official Xinhua news agency reported Thursday night that authorities were "investigating the incident in which Chongqing Vice Mayor Wang Lijun entered the US consulate in southwest China and remained there for one day."
Online rumors speculate that Wang, right-hand man to Bo Xilai, the charismatic and controversial Communist Party head of Chongqing who is believed to be gunning for a spot in China's central governing body during the upcoming power transition, had a falling out with Bo and headed to the US Consulate seeking asylum.
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Wang rose to national fame as Bo's top cop in a massive anti-corruption drive in the megalopolis of Chongqing.
US officials have refused to confirm or deny that's what happened in Chengdu. Meanwhile, bits of unconfirmed evidence are turning up online, adding to the mystery. On Thursday, a dissidents' website posted a letter purportedly written by Wang, intended to be circulated in the event that he's dead or disappeared. Danwei.org posted a translation, which reads largely as a rant against Bo.
"[Bo] has taken over the Party, the people and the whole city of Chongqing, and turned it into his personal fiefdom. His personality is such that he will not give up the goal of become the top mob boss of China and to achieve this goal he is willing to do anything," the letter says.
"Bo Xilai has the reputation of being honest and upright, but he is actually corrupt to the core, conniving at his family members getting outrageously rich."