Whoa. Xujun Eberlein has an important post on Inside-Out China, potentially explaining the Wang Lijun affair:
What on earth happened that led to Wang Lijun’s “defection” into the US consulate in Chengdu? Below is what I heard while in China. Keep in mind part of this is informed speculation, so take it with a grain of salt.
First, Wang Lijun was not seeking asylum with the US as some have guessed. He was running away from Bo Xilai and seeking the protection of Beijing’s Party Central, and he used the US consulate as a safe house, possibly also a message relay point. He waited an entire day until the people sent from Beijing arrived, at which point he walked out of the US consulate “of his own volition,” as state department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland put it.
Wang then walked into a melee between two forces waiting outside: Seventy police wagons sent by Bo Xilai, and agents of State Security sent from Beijing. The two parties scuffled and argued about who would take Wang Lijun into custody. In the end, Wang’s plan worked: he was escorted to Beijing instead of Chongqing.
How Wang escaped Bo’s control and drove three hours from Chongqing to Chengdu’s US consulate on the 6th is still unclear. It is said that Wang used the excuse of visiting a university and received Bo’s approval. Which university is that? It must be somewhere between Chongqing and Chengdu to provide Wang the possibility of escape.
Wang Lijun is now in the hands of Party Central. It will be very interesting to see how (or if) Beijing will explain his role reversal to the public. As to Bo Xilai, his hope to ascend is probably finished, though, as I heard someone say, don’t rule him out yet!
This is huge if she’s right. Bo Xilai has been a central figure in the leadership transfer speculation, and him falling from grace would impact a lot of the conclusions that people have come to about what will happen.