Chinese Principal Commits Suicide After College Shooting

October 12, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: October 12, 2006 12:00 am

TAIPEI—According to a report by Hong Kong's Sing Tao Daily, Luo Buzang, principal of the Hezuo Teacher Training College in Gansu Province, shot Yang Zhihong, the Communist Party chief at the college in late September. Luo then shot himself and died later from gunshot wounds. The Chinese authorities have blocked the passage of this incident until now.

The shooting incident took place in Hezuo City, capital of the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu. Both the murderer and the victim were two senior Tibetan college officials.

The case shocked the Chinese Ministry of Education, the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, and Gansu provincial leaders and senior officials. The authorities carefully avoided mentioning the incident, and forbid media coverage. On the morning of Oct. 4, the school held a memorial for Yang Zhihong, but did not disclose any details.

According to the report, the incident happened on the morning of Sep. 27. Luo Buzang obtained a gun, broke into Yang Zhihong's office, and fired a fatal shot at Yang's head from a short distance.

Yang died instantly from the wound. Later Luo committed suicide by shooting himself in the head, but did not die on the spot.

Police and medical units rushed to the scene and sent Luo to Gannan Tibetan People's Hospital for emergency treatment. The Gansu provincial government also sent medical experts to participate in the treatment. Luo was kept alive for two days on a ventilator, but died of serious gunshot wounds on Sep. 29.

The incident shocked the whole school. First reactions to the case were, “Oh my God, the principal killed the head of the school's Party committee!” A student said that it was the darkest moment in the school's history.

According to the report, police blocked the school, investigated the case, and took strict measures not to disclose the incident. The Gansu Provincial Public Security Department and the Organization Department sent people to assist in the investigation.

The Hezuo Teacher Training College is the most important school in the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Early September, the school just passed accreditation granted by the Chinese Ministry of Education. It would soon be upgraded in status to undergraduate college.

According to official information, Luo, a 50-year-old professor holding a master's degree from the Central Chinese Communist Party School, and a member of the Chinese Communist Party, had worked there since the school was established. In 1994, he took up the position of vice principal and was promoted to principal in 2001. He is the heart of the school's drive and forward movement.

Yang, at the age of 55, successively held the positions of county mayor, director of the Education Bureau of the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, vice commissioner, and deputy secretary of the prefecture. In 2004, he was transferred to serve as secretary of the Communist Party Committee of the Hezuo Teacher Training School.

The report quoted a source as saying that Luo felt shunted aside by Yang because the latter had done a great deal to improve school effectiveness in all aspects since he came on the scene.

It was reported that higher authorities had decided to appoint Luo as vice-chancellor of the Gansu Radio and Television University in Gansu's Lanzhou City. Luo was merely proceeding through the formalities. Another source said Luo and Yang formed the two power centers in the school. Their conflict had deepened and could not be resolved, finally rsulting in the shooting incident.