Xinhua's account is a sanitized version of Wang's trial that ended Tuesday on charges of bribery, abuse of power and defection, but is the fullest explanation by the government of how the scandal unfolded in its early days. It also conflicts with statements by U.S. officials and diplomats that Wang, a potential source on China's opaque high-level politics, never sought asylum before he voluntarily left the consulate into the custody of Chinese authorities.
The account is the latest sign that after seven months of debate, Bo's fellow leaders are nearing a resolution on his fate — whether merely to expel him from the party or prosecute him on criminal charges.
A flamboyant, telegenic son of a revolutionary leader, Bo was a rare politician with a popular national profile and deep connections in the top rungs of the party, government and military. Since being suspended from the leadership in April, his name had not been mentioned in previous statements about the scandal — not even obliquely.
In the Xinhua account, Bo's Chongqing comes across as a place where Wang reigned as police chief unbridled by the law and where the powerful traded favors, even over murder.
It said Wang took money from two businessmen to buy and rent housing in Chongqing and Beijing. In return, when they asked, he ordered suspects released from police detention. He put people under electronic surveillance without authorization.
Bo's wife, Gu, confided in Wang last year that she and her son were in a business dispute with Briton Neil Heywood, and that he had allegedly threatened her son's life, Xinhua said. Wang and Gu first met in 2007 and had maintained close relations since. Wang put Heywood under surveillance.