Hubei lawmaker dies after falling from his office: report

Days earlier, he had presided over tough grilling among colleagues, in mandatory self-criticism session

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2014, 7:13pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2014, 7:13pm

Li Haihua, a local legislator in Hubei province, died after falling from his office this morning – just days after he attended a tense meeting where cadres evaluate each other’s faults for the good of the party.

The cause of death is still under investigation, the news website reports.

There were little details about his fatal plunge, but a report in the website of Xiaogan municipality, where Li was an official of the Municipal People’s Congress, noted that eight days before, Li attended a criticism and self-criticism session and was the first to be evaluated.

During the July 1 meeting, Li was the first to conduct a self-critique and to hear the judgement of other officials, according to the report.

He presided over the session as director of the party leadership group of the municipal legislature’s Standing Committee. The specifics of his session were not disclosed.

Criticism/self-criticism sessions have been for years practiced by the Communist Party as a means to correct party problems and enforce discipline. Previous reports have said cadres spend hours crafting their self-criticism papers.

Members at the July 1 meeting Li presided were urged to speak about their own shortcomings and mistakes. The confession should be detailed, specific and honest.

In the ensuing “mutual criticism” session, cadres were encouraged to be thorough – even “harsh” – in exposing their comrades’ flaws and improper behaviours.

Two officials higher in rank than Li – Liu Lieyu, deputy leader of the seventh supervision group of the Provincial Party Committee, and Tao Hong, the Secretary of the Municipal Party Committee – attended and addressed the meeting, reports said.

Since last year, the Communist Party chief and President Xi Jingping has instructed regional officials to hold such sessions, called “democratic life meetings”.

It is a key component in his “mass line” campaign, which Xi said aimed to eliminate formality, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance among the rank and file.

The mechanism of criticism and self-criticism was introduced by the Communist Party in Yanan, Shaanxi province, in the early 1940s. Such sessions have been adopted frequently over the decades.

However, these sessions have become better known as platforms for internal power struggles. Late party chief Hu Yaobang was ejected from his post at a “democratic life meeting” in January 1987 over what was said to be his liberal approach to reform.