Minnie Chan [email protected]
14 October 2012
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A man in Sichuan has been ordered to serve seven days' detention for "posting details online about the case of former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun".
The leaked information revealed that Wang, who was the right-hand man of former Chongqing party head Bo Xilai, was travelling to Beijing escorted by seven national security officers on February 10 after leaving the US consulate in Sichuan's capital, Chengdu.
China watchers abroad and mainland internet users were left guessing the whereabouts of Wang after he left the consulate. He had fled to the consulate to seek help after confronting his boss with evidence implicating Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, in the death of Briton Neil Heywood.
The man, surnamed Mao and a hotel employee, was placed under "administrative detention" in Chengdu on Friday, the Chengdu Daily said, citing sources from the Chengdu National Security Bureau.
The newspaper said Mao had posted online information provided by his friend, who worked for an airline. The information included Wang's flight details and names of the seven accompanying national security officers.
Mao "deliberately leaked national security secrets", the paper said, adding that the airline employee involved received a warning, while Mao was punished with detention.
Professor Ong Yew-kim, a Hong Kong-based expert in mainland law, said a week in detention was a light penalty for leaking national-security operational secrets.
"Mao got away with a light penality for misconduct because he was not a civil servant, and what he leaked was fact, not a rumour," Ong said.
"I suppose the authorities wanted to use detention as punishment to warn others not to leak information that could raise public concern."
However, Wang Cailiang, a director at the Beijing Liang Cai law firm, called the punishment "severe".
"Wang Lijun's case was a common criminal case, and our government had a responsibility to make those matters known to the public. Mao just did their job instead," Wang said.
"The news of Mao's detention left me speechless."
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said Wang Lijun, who received a 15-year sentence last month, had been sent to the secretive Qincheng Prison in Beijing, where other senior officials were jailed, including Chen Xitong and Chen Liangyu, the disgraced party heads of Beijing and Shanghai.
South China Morning Post Publishers Limited