Date
18 December 2017
Wei Jianghong, chairman of a state-owned copper firm, jumped to his death in June last year, the 62nd publicly known 'unnatural' death of an official or employee of a state-run entity since the start of 2013. Photo: Bloomberg
Wei Jianghong, chairman of a state-owned copper firm, jumped to his death in June last year, the 62nd publicly known 'unnatural' death of an official or employee of a state-run entity since the start of 2013. Photo: Bloomberg

China tallies suicides during anti-graft drive

The Communist Party is conducting a nationwide survey to find out how many of its members have taken their own lives since China’s anti-corruption campaign began two years ago, the Financial Times reported.

The crackdown, which has led to about a quarter of a million cadres receiving warnings or disciplinary action, has prompted a sharp rise in suicides among officials, media reports say.

The party has recently been sending out a questionnaire to officials across the country asking them to identify the number and details of “unnatural deaths”, including suicides, of party members since December 2012, when President Xi Jinping launched the massive anti-graft drive. 

State-controlled media have condemned allegedly corrupt officials for killing themselves while under investigation, but for family members and associates of these officials, suicide is often considered the most honorable, if not desirable, course of action.

The death of the graft suspects will end any investigation into their alleged corruption, protecting any accomplices and allowing their families to keep their assets, ill-gotten or otherwise.

In addition to facing long prison sentences or even the death penalty, officials found guilty of corruption — and their families — lose generous state pensions and all their assets.

Children of disgraced officials are sometimes forced to leave prestigious schools or high-profile jobs, the newspaper said.

The survey form seeks information on the cause of suicide, listing as options psychological disorders, work pressure, family disputes and involvement in illegal activity.

If a suicide took place during an anti-graft probe, officials are asked to name the main target of the investigation.

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