China forensic expert quits ahead of Bo Xilai trial

BEIJING - A Chinese forensic expert who questioned the murder conviction of former top politician Bo Xilai's wife has resigned from one of her positions, the state media said yesterday, just as Bo's trial date was announced.

Dr 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, the Global Times said.

In a video posted online over the weekend, she cited her disagreement over a separate, unrelated case for her decision.

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

The announcement by Dr Wang, who is also a vice-director at the public prosecutor's office, came as the state media said Bo 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 last year for fatally poisoning Mr Heywood.

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