BEIJING: A former top policeman whose dash to a US consulate triggered China's biggest political scandal in two decades has resigned as a national lawmaker, state media said today, possibly paving the way for criminal charges against him.
Wang Lijun, former Chongqing police chief, briefly holed up in the Chengdu US consulate in February, a step that ultimately led to the ousting of Chongqing's former leader Bo Xilai from the top ranks of the communist party and sparked uncertainty ahead of a critical leadership handover.
The official Xinhua news agency said that Chongqing authorities had on June 26 accepted Wang's resignation as a deputy to the country's largely rubber stamp parliament.
The report provided no other details, but the act removes Wang's immunity from prosecution as a member of parliament.
Wang was afraid for his life after he alleged that Bo's wifewas involved in the death of British businessman Neil Heywood, sources familiar with the police investigation have said.
Chongqing officials acknowledged in early March that Wang had been taken away by state security officials, and that thecentral government was spear heading an investigation.
A May report in the South China Morning Post said he could face charges of treason. Treason carries a maximum penalty of death, although Wang is expected to receive leniency for providing evidence against Bo and his wife.
Bo is under investigation for violating party discipline andwas suspended from the politburo in April after the revelationsregarding his wife's involvement in Heywood's death.
The removal of Bo, who had aspired for one of the top leadership seats at the five-yearly congress happening later this year, has opened the way for fresh jockeying among rival candidates and interrupted what is usually a carefullychoreographed political process.