The body of a young man was discovered hanging from a tree on Shanghai's Bund waterfront early yesterday morning.
Photographs of the man's body dangling from the tree were circulated on internet message boards yesterday, followed by a brief news report in local media.
It comes at a sensitive time, just two days after the closing of the World Expo in the city. Security was tight across the city during the six-month-long multibillion-yuan fair, with authorities determined to ensure it would pass without incident.
The man, in a light-coloured sweater and white trousers, appeared to be hanging by the neck from a noose tied to a branch about 8 metres above the ground. The photos showed firefighters preparing to remove the body, watched by a small crowd of onlookers.
A spokesman for the Shanghai Public Security Bureau confirmed the body was discovered sometime after 6am. 'Police are currently investigating the circumstances, including exactly how and when the man came to be in the tree,' he said. 'It is not yet known for certain whether the death was a result of murder or suicide.'
He said the man's identity had yet to be confirmed.
Murders and suicides are a fairly regular occurrence in the mainland's biggest city - home to roughly 20 million - but the location of this incident thrust it into the spotlight.
There was also a report yesterday that a youth with an iron bar injured two passers-by - both tourists from other parts of China - in apparently unprovoked attacks. One victim, a middle-aged woman, was reported to be in a critical condition.