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Analysis: Did U.S. fumble chance to peer inside China's secretive leadership?

• Reuters

Information about a Chinese policeman who implicated the wife of a top Chinese official in a British businessman's murder was not circulated widely in Washington as he was considered of marginal intelligence value, current and former U.S. officials said.

In the weeks since Wang Lijun's visit to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu and his subsequent detention, some critics of the Obama administration have accused it of fumbling what could have been one of the highest-level defectors ever from inside China's clannish leadership class.

Part of that criticism is based on a story line that upon reaching the consulate in Chengdu on February 6, Wang requested political asylum.

The administration's public line has been that Wang did not request asylum and left the consulate of his own accord [to his likely future death].

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