China's parliament has expelled disgraced politician Bo Xilai, effectively stripping him of his legal immunity and clearing the way for his prosecution on corruption charges.
"The Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) on Friday announced the termination of Bo Xilai's post as the NPC deputy," reported news agency Xinhua.
Bo, who was head of the Communist Party in Chongqing and a member of China's Politburo, is accused of abuse of power, bribe-taking and violating party discipline. The allegations centre on the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood last year.
Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, is currently in prison for murdering Heywood, having been found guilty of poisoning him last November. Police believe Bo tried to suppress the investigation into Heywood's death when he was informed that his wife was a suspect.
Bo has not been seen in public since being stripped of his role as Chongqing chief in March, when allegations of his family's involvement in the murder of Heywood emerged.
The trial of Bo is expected to begin after the 8 November party congress, when China's once-in-a-decade leadership transition will take place.
"It's theatre," said Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, said before Bo's expulsion was revealed.
"The judiciary grinds into action only when the outcome has been determined. There is no indication we will see a genuine trial because Bo knows too much."