China official who doubted Bo murder case quits: media

Published August 19, 2013

| AFP

A senior Chinese forensic expert who questioned the murder conviction of top politican Bo Xilai's wife has resigned one of her positions, state-run media said Monday, just as the date for Bo's trial was announced.

Wang Xuemei -- who openly doubted the ruling Communist authorities' account of the death of British businessman Neil Heywood -- stepped down as vice-president of the Chinese Forensic Medicine Association (CFMA), the Global Times said.

The reason for Wang's timing was unclear, and in a video posted online over the weekend she cited her disagreement with a separate, unrelated case for her decision.

The announcement by Wang, who is also a vice-director at the public prosecutor's office, came as state media said Sunday that Bo -- once one the country's top 25 leaders who headed the southwestern megacity Chongqing -- would face trial for corruption on Thursday.

A guilty verdict is all but certain at the proceedings in the eastern city of Jinan.

Bo's wife Gu Kailai was given a suspended death sentence in August 2012 for fatally poisoning Heywood.

But Wang disputed the Gu verdict, saying that Heywood's heart would have stopped instantly if he had been poisoned but Gu's description of events did not mention this.

The claim of poisoning lacked scientific evidence, she wrote, suggesting that the businessman might have been suffocated instead.

Wang's statement on the issue last year soon disappeared online -- many sensitive items are deleted by official censors -- although copies were posted on overseas websites.

In her resignation video, Wang focused on the case of a student electrocuted at a Beijing subway station in 2010.

In that case the CFMA said Ma Yue fell onto the tracks and authorities declared his death an accident but Wang, holding a photograph of the victim, argued that he must have been electrocuted beforehand.

"I cannot tolerate that the name of Wang Xuemei and an academic organisation that produces such ridiculous and irresponsible conclusions be associated," she said in a copy of the video posted on YouTube.

The Global Times -- which did not mention Wang's views on the Gu case -- quoted a researcher at the China University of Political Science and Law, Wang Zhenyu, as saying the resignation indicated that "even legal workers are unsatisfied with the current legal system".

But the paper also cited an unnamed legal medical specialist as saying Wang was "not clear" about the subway case and her judgment was "not solid".

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