Reports of Suicides by Chinese Security Official Surface After 19th Congress

Several high-ranking Chinese officials, including two from the domestic security apparatus, recently committed suicide, according to various reports after the 19th Party Congress.

On Nov. 2, Zhang Xiaohua, a Hunan Political and Legal Affairs Commission (PLAC) member and team leader of the discipline inspection team stationed in the Hunan PLAC, reportedly committed suicide by jumping off a building. Zhang’s death came after Hunan Discipline Inspection cadre Li Zhengke was investigated.

Also on Nov. 2, Shanghai United Front Work Department deputy head Dai Jingbin was found to have hanged himself on the 6th floor of his office building.

On Nov. 8, mainland press reported that former Pingdingshan City PLAC secretary Li Yongsheng killed himself by jumping off a building. Pingdingshan City is in Hebei Province.

Our take:

  1. The Jiang Zemin faction has long controlled the PLAC and the Chinese Communist Party’s domestic security apparatus. Xi Jinping purged several high-ranking PLAC officials during his first term in office and should continue to cleanse the security apparatus of Jiang factional elements.
  2. While Jiang faction member Guo Shengkun became the Central PLAC chief at the 19th Party Congress, Xi ally Zhao Kezhi was appointed Ministry of Public Security chief.
  3. The suicides by PLAC officials could be linked to their fear of being investigated when Xi’s legal reforms are implemented. Xi announced the creation of a leading group for advancing law-based governance at the 19th Congress to bring China closer to a rule of law system. Li Zhanshu, Xi’s ally and likely future head of the National People’s Congress, may helm the new law-based governance policy making group.