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Home / World News / Hundreds of Communist Party and government officials commit suicide in China in recent years

Hundreds of Communist Party and government officials commit suicide in China in recent years

At least five Communist Party and government officials committed suicide in one month, said a report, adding that the tally of such suicides between 2009 and 2017 is now 283. The actual number could be higher as there could be cases that weren’t made public, said experts.

world Updated: Jun 04, 2018 20:47 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Experts are divided over whether the huge number of suicides could be due to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s crusade against corruption.
Experts are divided over whether the huge number of suicides could be due to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s crusade against corruption.(AFP/File Photo)

Hundreds of Communist Party of China and government officials have committed suicide in recent years, a state media report has said, putting rare official focus on what is  thought to be an “epidemic” in the corridors of power.

At least five party and government officials committed suicide in one month, said the report in the Global Times tabloid, adding that the tally of such suicides between 2009 and 2017 is now 283.

The actual number could be higher as there could be cases that weren’t made public, said Zhu Zhuohong from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), which researched the data.

That could well be true.

A report by Hindustan Times in July 2016 had said more than 150 officials from government departments had committed suicide since 2013. The broad break-up: 46 in 2013, 54 in 2014 and 30 in 2015.

The data was collected from open sources and scattered media reports.

New data from CAS showed at least 40 officials had committed suicide in 2017. Many officials jumped from tall buildings to end their lives and a majority killed themselves at office.

“Work pressure with strict oversight and tight deadlines is the major cause. Career setbacks contribute to the pressure, and less time left for marriage and family adds to it,” Zhu said.

There is no evidence to link the suicides to the “enhanced anti-corruption drive” — President Xi Jinping’s much publicised crusade against graft that has netted thousands of officials, Global Times reported.

But other experts said there could be a link.

“Alleged corrupt officials will be under tremendous pressure from their patrons or collaborators (within the Communist Party) and the pressure can also get to their families. At the end, some of them will choose to kill themselves in order to protect their faction or just to protect their own families,” said Kin-man Chan, professor of Sociology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Zhuang Deshui from the Research Centre for Government Integrity-Building at Peking University said there was no evidence to support the corruption-to-suicide connection but the incidents did send a warning that the psychological state of officials must be monitored.

“There could be multiple reasons to commit suicide. Not one. But sometimes, people might kill themselves to save their families from being shamed,” Paul Yip, director of the Hong Kong-based Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, had said two years ago.

ht epaper

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