(NEW YORK TIMES) — On the evening of February 6, a vice mayor of a major Chinese city who had a reputation as a crime fighter turned up at the American Consulate in Chengdu in an agitated state, telling a tale of corruption and murder that has ensnared the Obama administration in a scandal it wants nothing to do with.

Wang Lijun was taken past police officers loyal to a powerful former patron, Bo Xilai.

The official, Wang Lijun, sought asylum, fearing for his life even as Chinese security forces quickly surrounded the building and asked the American diplomats inside to turn him over.

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