A Shenzhen media executive was found dead near a lake yesterday in an apparent suicide, fuelling an ongoing discussion of the mental and physical stress endured by mainland media staff and a lack of mental health awareness even among white-collar workers.
Zhang Jingwu's death came days after a young deputy chief of a Zhejiang newspaper took his own life. That suicide received widespread media attention and shocked journalists and readership alike.
Zhang, who was head of the Shenzhen Press Group Circulation, went missing on Wednesday, according to his family.
Police located Zhang's body and a suicide note in a culvert near Xiangmihu on Thursday, local media reported.
Hu Hongxiao, editor-in-chief of the affiliated Daily Sunshine, and a former colleague of Zhang, said on Weibo that he suffered from depression. Zhang had served the newspaper with integrity and diligence for 20 years, he added.
"Zhang contributed significantly to our newspaper and we deeply regret his death," he wrote.
Xu Xing, the 35-year-old deputy chief of the Dushi Kuaibao daily, based in Hangzhou, committed suicide this week after suffering from depression, according to family and friends. It was not known if Xu sought or received a mental health diagnosis.
Several senior reporters and information officials have killed themselves in recent months.
Last week, Song Bin, chief editor of Xinhua's Anhui provincial branch, hanged himself in his office. Song's former colleagues said he suffered from depression, a condition often undiagnosed on the mainland.
In March, Li Wufeng, a senior official with the State Council Information Office, jumped to his death from his Beijing office. News of Li's death was censored.
"What's happening to our editors and journalists?" wrote a Shenzhen blogger on Weibo. Another blogger said: "How could they not have been depressed if they have to live with sucking up to the propaganda department and telling lies every day?"