The biggest political scandal to hit China in a generation started with a visit to a US consulate that sparked a frantic State Department debate, the New York Times finds. When Chongqing chief Bo Xilai's deputy Wang Jilun fled to the US consulate in nearby Chengdu, he was refused asylum. But as Chinese security forces surrounded the building demanding Wang's return, apparently on Bo's orders, he was allowed to remain for 36 hours so that he could be handed over to authorities from Beijing instead of local forces. Insiders say Wang's unsavory reputation, plus the difficulty of spiriting him out of the country, helped the State Department decide against granting him asylum.
American officials say Wang arrived with documents detailing accusations against Bo and his wife—believed to be the same information that led to Bo's firing and his wife's investigation on charges of murdering a British businessman. Bo had ordered Wang to investigate the murder before changing his mind, according to some reports. Wang's current whereabouts are unknown and while some Republicans ask if more could have been done to help him, the State Department is staying silent about the case. "It would be incredibly foolish for the US to play any public cards in this very messy Chinese family feud,” an analyst at the Asia Society notes.