Row erupts over 'martyr' honour for dead official

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 February, 2008, 12:00am

The deputy Communist Party secretary of Hohhot, who was gunned down in his office this month, has been named a 'revolutionary martyr' in a move drawing much criticism.

Wang Zhiping and a female tax official, Wang Ying who was also in his office, were murdered by Guan Liuru who then committed suicide on February 5 in Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia .

Critics say the move to name Wang Zhiping as a martyr comes before local police and the Ministry of Public Security unveil their findings.

Mainland media yesterday reported that on Friday the Civil Affairs Department of the Inner Mongolian government approved the Hohhot city government's application for the honour.

In a written reply to the application, quoted by Huashang Daily, the Inner Mongolian authorities described Wang Zhiping as an 'excellent party member and official, who was unfortunately murdered at around 4pm on February 5 in Hohhot city, sacrificing himself while at his work post, aged 54'.

It said the decision was based on the Revolutionary Martyr Praise and Commend Regulations, which said a person could be named a martyr if 'he is killed by his enemy when carrying out revolutionary tasks'.

Zhou Xiaozheng, a sociology professor of Renmin University, said being named a martyr was a top honour and required a strict review process before approval, which seemed not to have been done in this case.

'I think they shouldn't rush into honouring him as a martyr because it should only be given after they have thoroughly investigated the case. Otherwise, controversy and problems are set to arise in the future when more details of the case come to light,' Professor Zhou said

The issue was first reported by the online version of Caijing magazine on Wednesday but was removed from the site within a few hours after it was circulated on other websites.

Xinhua carried a short report a day later, revealing Guan had been stripped of his post as head of the Economic and Technological Development Department of Hohhot's Public Security Bureau last October. It also said the city's deputy secretary had endorsed a decision to issue a 'grave warning' to him, for mishandling a case in 2004.

While the case was still under investigation, the newspaper quoted sources as saying Guan had greeted Hohhot city party secretary Han Zhiran in the office building shortly before the killing.