China / Hot Issues

S China village chief commits suicide amid protest

(China Daily) Updated: 2012-12-11 04:40

GUANGZHOU - A village official in south China killed himself on Monday after a two-month protest in the village over alleged fund embezzlement under his watch.

Yuan Songfang, chief of the Haizhou village committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), jumped off his residence building in the city of Zhongshan in Guangdong Province, local officials confirmed.

"Police are still investigating the case," said He Shengqiang, an official of the township CPC committee of Guzhen, which oversees Haizhou.

Since October 12, hundreds of Haizhou villagers have been gathering at the village committee's office after an online post alleged that the committee plans to cut the distribution of a large amount of funding earmarked to compensate villagers giving away their land for the construction of a highway ramp.

The Guzhen authorities later announced in a statement that the compensation amount alleged in the online post -- 3 billion yuan ($480 million) -- can not be true. And the land requisition has not even started.

But the statement did not hold back the protestors.

He Shengqiang said he had talked with Yuan as recently as Sunday.

He said Yuan looked depressed and told him that there is no fraud involved the construction project.

Yuan did not answer his phone call on Monday morning, said He, who learned of Yuan's suicide only later in the afternoon.

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