Former police chief loses immunity
The National People's Congress yesterday formally removed Wang Lijun, the former police chief of Chongqing, as a deputy to the country's top legislature, paving the way for formal prosecution.
Xinhua reported that the NPC Standing Committee approved the move after the Standing Committee of the Chongqing People's Congress accepted Wang's resignation on Tuesday, which removes his immunity to prosecution as a member of the nation's parliament.
It is believed that the Ministry of State Security, which has been investigating Wang (pictured), will soon hand his case over to prosecutors to allow him to stand trial later.
Earlier media reports suggested that Wang would be charged with treason after his alleged attempt to defect to the US consulate in Chengdu , capital of neighbouring Sichuan province, in February.
Meanwhile, a young female prosecutor who became an icon of the sweeping triad crackdown led by former party secretary Bo Xilai , has failed to be 'elected' as a delegate to the party's national meeting that will see the once-in-a-decade transition of the party's leadership.
Yao Ning , a 34-year-old prosecutor in the case against former lawyer Li Zhuang , was among nine shortlisted candidates who failed to be chosen to join Chongqing's 42 delegates to the Communist Party's 18th National Congress to be held this year, according to cqnews.net, the official website run by the Chongqing Daily group.
A prominent Beijing-based lawyer who made his name for winning thorny criminal cases, Li was convicted and jailed for fabricating evidence while defending Gong Gangmo , a millionaire and alleged triad boss.
Gong had purportedly been subjected to torture to obtain confessions and Li allegedly sent signals to his client in court to tell the truth about what had happened to him.
Li's conviction sparked a nationwide public outcry, particularly among the legal sector, with many complaining it was a political prosecution rather a fair judgment.
Li's imprisonment fuelled nationwide criticism of Bo for allegedly pursuing his own political career at the expense of the rule of law.
When asked to comment on Yao's failure to become a delegate, Li said he was not surprised. 'Today's Chongqing Daily said that the choice of delegates was a democratic election that reflected what the general public thought,' Li said. The former lawyer, who has appealed against his conviction, said he was confident that he would be vindicated regardless of whether Yao was elected a delegate or not.
Separately, Xu Hairong , 48, has been named the top propaganda official in Chongqing, replacing He Shizhong, 60, who was one of Bo Xilai's top aides.
Xu had appeared in his capacity as the municipality's publicity department chief for the first time at a meeting honouring individuals and party organisations on Friday, cqnews.net reported.
A native of Chongqing, Xu joined the mega-city's police force in 1999, before being named deputy chief of the party's disciplinary watchdog in the municipality in 2005.