Just hours after filing a news article exposing a toxic waste spill, a Chinese reporter died from a suspicious fall from a hotel building, prompting netizens to call for an investigation, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA).
Liu Qi, journalist for Commercial Times, was staying at a hotel in Sichuan’s Wusheng County in order to attend a wedding, when he fell to his death early Sunday morning.
State media said that the police did not view his death as suspicious. “Police investigations of closed-circuit television footage of the scene revealed that no other people were present at the time of Liu Qi’s death,” RFA reported.
Netizens were not ready to accept the official explanation for Liu’s death, asking for a more complete police probe.
Pointing to the fact that Liu was staying in a second floor room, some netizens questioned how he could die from such a short fall. “He died [after falling] from the second floor?! ,” wrote one netizen.
“The cause of death looks very fishy,” said one user on China’s popular Weibo, while another user said, “Condolences! Check out the reports he wrote before he died.”
“Why would he do that?” one commentator asked, noting that Liu was newly married.
Netizens across China have become increasingly suspicious and vocal about the deaths, officially ruled as suicide, of those troublesome to the Communist Party and local police. Referring to them as “being suicided,” netizens react swiftly with skeptical comments and questions.
Last year thousands of netizens began posting “I will not commit suicide” notices on the Internet, following the death of pro-democracy activist Li Wangyang under questionable conditions. Li’s family, associates, and concerned netizens have demanded more investigation into his death, officially declared a suicide.
Anti-suicide pledges are the second most popular topic on Weibo, says the BBC, with over 20 million postings.