Monday, 19 August 2013

Enough with the System

We are intrigued by the timing of China's top forensic scientist resigning hours before the announcement of Bo Xilai's upcoming trial later this week.

Wang Xuemei was a forensic expert with the Supreme People's Procuratorate, China's top prosecution office. She tendered her resignation, questioning the evidence around how Bo's wife Gu Kailai murdered Briton Neil Heywood.

She said the official accounts of the murder were "absurd" and said investigators had not presented enough evidence to prove Heywood died of cyanide poisoning.

Wang, 57, told the BBC that cyanide poisoning causes extremely fast asphyxia, spasms and a heart attack. His skin and blood would have turned bright red, which investigators should have observed.

Nevertheless, Wang believes Gu had motives to kill Heywood, and perhaps used another poison.

However Wang says she quit because of another case unrelated to Bo, regarding a student who was said to have died of electrocution from falling off the subway platform in Beijing. While investigators claim there was no foul play, she says the victim's lower jaw show signs he was dealt a blow before falling onto the electrified track.

When she resigned in her job and as vice-chairmanship of China's Forensic Medicine Association, Wang said: "I cannot stand my name being mixed up with an academic body that presents such ridiculous and irresponsible forensic evidence," she said.

"I am also resolved to quit the forensic system in China. As a forensic doctor in the supreme forensic monitoring apparatus, I am extremely disappointed and have become desperate over what is happening.

"After painstaking working in this field for 30 years, I have realized that I do not have the ability by myself to change the situation. I cannot rectify the cases which were unjustly and immorally tried even at the cost of my life. My only option is to quit. For my innocence in the future, I must quit," she said.

Other than the Heywood case and this student, how many others have top forensic scientists bungled? Or is it people above them who would rather not have accurate investigations done just to prosecute people or abruptly close cases?

We are sorry to hear Wang leave, though we note she was three years from retirement. Will she ever speak out again to tell us more about what's really going on in the Supreme People's Procuratorate? Inquiring minds want to know!

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