CHINA> National
Bloggers head death investigation team
By Cai Ke (China Daily/Xinhua)
Updated: 2009-02-21 08:01

Authorities in Yunnan province are hoping two of the country's most popular bloggers can help them unravel the mystery of a man who died in police custody.

Zhao Li, who writes a blog under the name Fengzhimoduan, and Dong Rubin, better known as Bianmin, were named director and deputy director of an investigation committee that was sent to Jinning county, Yunnan province on Friday to probe the suspicious death.

The pair is part of a 15-member team that includes six other members of the public (three of whom were chosen in an online lottery), three reporters, four public security officials and prosecutors. It is hoped the crew can find out what really happened to Li Qiaoming, 24, who police said died after playing hide-and-seek.

Li, from Yuxi, was detained in Jinning on Jan 30 for felling trees without authorization. On Feb 8 he was admitted to hospital, where he died four days later from brain damage.

The Jinning public security bureau said Friday that Li was fatally injured while playing hide-and-seek with other inmates, one of whom supposedly reacted angrily when his hiding place was uncovered by Li.

News of Li's death, and the fact he had been playing hide- and-seek while in jail, sparked much debate in the country's online community.

One unnamed person wrote on a website: "I thought maybe he had committed suicide, but I'd never have guessed he died playing hide-and-seek!"

The amateur sleuths began their "truth-finding" mission at the Jinning detention house on Friday, where they spoke with officials from the Jinning government, public security bureau and prosecutor's office.

At about 1 pm, they visited the cell Li had occupied, and studied documents relating to his death. At 2:40 pm, they held a news briefing at the Sanhe Grand Hotel to discuss their findings.

"We're satisfied with the attitude of the police toward our investigation," Zhao said. "We're not professional investigators but we're doing our best."