Chinese university official found dead after feud with colleague

A university Communist Party chief in southwest China has been found dead after a bitter feud with a colleague.

Police in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, said the body of Mao Hongtao had been found in a river on Friday morning following an overnight search.

Police said they had been alerted after the 50-year-old posted on social media that he intended to take his own life.

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Mao had also alleged that he had been subjected to “persecution and injustice” from the president of Chengdu University, Wang Qingyuan.

The university issued a brief statement on Friday evening expressing “shock and grief” over Mao’s death and said it would cooperate with the police investigation into the case.

Mao started working at the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in 1996 after graduating from the university with a master’s degree in accounting.

He was the vice-president of Sichuan Tourism College from 2014 to 2016 and was vice-mayor of the city of Meishan until February last year, when he was appointed Chengdu University’s party chief.

Chinese universities adopt a dual leadership model where the party chief is responsible for the political side of things, while the president runs the daily operations and implements the party’s decisions.

In a national conference on universities’ “ideological and political work” in January, President Xi Jinping said the model should continue to ensure the party’s control over higher education.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, or you know someone who is, help is available. For Hong Kong, dial +852 2896 0000 for The Samaritans or +852 2382 0000 for Suicide Prevention Services. In the US, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on +1 800 273 8255. For a list of other nations’ helplines, see this page

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