Chinese official shoots city Communist Party boss and mayor

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 January, 2017, 7:06pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 January, 2017, 11:18pm

A senior Sichuan official shot two of his supervisors on Wednesday morning in the middle of a high-level meeting before killing himself, Chinese media report.

Panzhihua land and resources bureau chief Chen Zhongshu fired at the city’s Communist Party chief, Zhang Yan, and mayor Li Jianqin before fleeing the scene, according to Shanghai-based news outlet Thepaper.cn.

Zhang and Li sustained minor wounds and Chen was later found dead in the hotel building where the meeting was being held, the report said.

Chen rushed in and fired at the two men while the meeting was under way, the report said.

Both Li and Zhang were sent to hospital, where their wounds were described as not life-threatening.

No motive was given for the attack and it was not clear how Chen obtained the firearm.

Chinese civilians are prohibited from having guns under national law.

The shooting took place just six months after Li, 53, arrived in the city and five after he became mayor.

Li was reassigned to Panzhihua after spending more than 20 years working in the resources sector, including eight years in charge of the internal watchdog office of the Ministry of Land and Resources.

A source told the South China Morning Post that Li was an expert in Chen’s professional area and Chen had become a target of investigation before the shooting.

The Southern Metropolis News quoted an unnamed government source as saying Chen had complained to his friends that Zhang and Li were “ratting on him”.

Zhang’s official resume includes four years in various corruption-fighting departments.

Chen had worked in the city’s anti-corruption department for more than 10 years and received national praise in 2015 for keeping cadres under his watch in line, according to earlier Chinese media reports.

Wednesday’s shooting comes as President Xi Jinping’s anti-graft campaign continues its sweep across the country, with officials felled at a rate not seen in decades.

It also comes ahead of a major meeting of the party’s top anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, which starts on Friday and Xi will chair, according to state media.

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Resources-rich Sichuan has been among the worst-hit provinces in the anti-graft campaign.

Zhou Yongkang, once the party’s security tsar, had badly influenced the political environment of the province, a senior Sichuan official said earlier.

Zhou was sentenced to life imprisonment on corruption charges and abuse of power in 2015.

There have been many cases of cadres committing suicide while under corruption investigations but it is very rare for officials to shoot their supervisors.

Panzhihua, located in the mountainous area of southwest Sichuan, is a centre for iron ore, vanadium and titanium mining.