Homicides May be Counted as Suicides Among Chinese Officialdom

January 1, 2010 2:49 am Last Updated: January 1, 2010 2:49 am

Chinese Communist Party cadres are infamous for their venality and corruption, but a spate of recent deaths reported as suicides seems to show how dangerous the vocation can be as well. The confusing explanations for the recent deaths of six officials leaves open the possibility that some of the cases were actually homicides wrapped up in political struggles, according to one analyst.

Tang Jingling, a lawyer in Guangzhou, said to RFA that public opinion towards officials reported to have committed suicide often shows disdain, suspicion, or even sarcastic glee. “This comes from common conflicts between officials and civilians. Some officials might have committed suicide fearing exposure of their corruption. I believe in some cases political confrontations are behind it,” Tang said.

“There is also the possibility that some officials are homicides,” he continued. “An official might be involved in something shady or have exposed something sinister. Someone killed him and made it look like a suicide scene.”

There are two possible reasons an official would kill themselves, according to the speculations of Chinese bloggers: one is that they had no way to shirk responsibility for crimes they committed, and the other is to shut their own mouths forever, to protect their families and higher ranking officials who are involved in the crimes.

Wu Xiaoqing, former director of the Enforcement Bureau of the Higher People’s Court in southwest China’s Chongqing city, was arrested and fired in June 2009 for accepting a bribe of more than ten million Chinese yuan (approximately US$1.5 million).

According to the official announcement, Wu hanged himself using cotton-wool string. He died in a detention centre on Nov. 28.

Wu's arrest in Chongqing was one among a crackdown that caught close to 1,500 suspects—among them gangsters, prominent businessmen, and over a dozen high-ranking regime and police officials. Six gang members in the city were sentenced to death for crimes including murder and blackmail.

Online bloggers find Wu’s suicide suspicious, however: “How could a string of cotton-wool textile support the body weight of a male adult?” A widespread answer was “Your death protected a group of comrades.”

Jiang Weiping, former director of Hong-Kong based newspaper Wenweipo, commented that Wu’s confession could have been used as evidence against the crimes of Bo Xilai, currently Chongqing Party Committee Chief Secretary, and his right-hand man Wang Lijun, Director of the Public Security Bureau. “That is why Bo and his people killed Wu,” alleges Jiang.

Autopsy May Show Traces of Violence

As reported in the Epoch Times, Yang Kuansheng, deputy mayor of Wugang city, in central China’s Hunan province, was found dead on Nov. 26 outside of his residence. The local police concluded the next day that he killed himself because of depression.

However, the autopsy showed that Yang had several cuts on his left wrist which severed an artery, one knife cut on the back of his head, four cuts on the neck, severe bruises on his waist and buttocks, and three broken ribs on his left chest.

Yang’s brother-in-law, Mr. Lu, questioned the official explanation: “The police are calling it a suicide just because they didn’t find evidence of anyone else on the scene. I don’t think the authorities are conducting this investigation responsibly.” As a motive, Lu says, “He must have offended someone at his work or stood in the way of someone’s profit. He was honest, clean, and competent. Before long there were … well, they had methods to get rid of him.”
On Dec. 1, over 1000 people, including Yang’s family, who were not satisfied with the police’s conclusion, launched a protest. The same day, the Wugang city police took away Luo Xi, Yang’s cousin who posted details of the case on the internet.

Zhang Jianping, a human rights activist in Jiangsu, said that the political system with its cruel struggles resulted in the so-called suicides. “There is no effective supervision of these officials and hence almost everyone is involved in corruption,” said Zhang.

Read the original Chinese article.