Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has disclosed new information about the United States' role in a major 2012 diplomatic incident in which a Chinese official sought asylum at a U.S. consulate but was turned away. The incident — which helped trigger the downfall of prominent Communist Party leader Bo Xilai, one of China's biggest political scandals in decades — has long been shrouded in a degree of mystery.

The incident began in January 2012 when Wang Lijun, the deputy mayor and police chief of the southwestern city of Chongqing, confronted his boss, controversial Mayor Bo Xilai, with suspicions that Bo's wife had been involved in the murder of British businessman Neil Haywood. Bo responded by slapping Wang in outrage and demoting his longtime associate.

A few days later, Wang fled to the U.S. Consulate in nearby Chengdu, apparently terrified for his life, and requested asylum. Chinese authorities surrounded the building. Some 24 hours later, Wang left and was promptly arrested.