The office of Vice President Joe Biden overruled State and Justice Department officials in denying the political asylum request of a senior Chinese communist official last February over fears the high-level defection would upset the U.S. visit of China’s vice president, according to U.S. officials.
The defector, Wang Lijun, was turned away after 30 hours inside the U.S. Consulate Chengdu and given over to China’s Ministry of State Security, the political police and intelligence service.
Wang has not been seen since Feb. 7 and remains under investigation. His attempt to flee China set off a major power struggle within the ruling Communist Party and led to the ouster of leftist Politburo member Bo Xilai and the arrest of his wife on murder charges…
According to officials familiar with internal discussions on the Wang case, the rejection of his asylum request may have violated the 1980 U.S. Refugee Act, a law championed by Michael H. Posner, currently assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor. United Nations human rights conventions on handling threatened refugees also may have been ignored, the officials said.