The publisher of Forbes has defended the magazine's list of the mainland's richest 100 people - despite it being superstitiously regarded as the 'kiss of death' after several listed tycoons met a violent end or were jailed. The Forbes mainland list, first published in 2000, has been used as a reference by businessmen, scholars and journalists. But in the past two years, five of those in the top 60 have died, been jailed or have fled the country, prompting some of the Chinese media to call it 'the death list'. The most recent casualty was Qiao Jinling - 58th on last year's list with an estimated fortune of US$120 million - who was Asia's biggest producer of artificial diamonds before he hanged himself at his home on September 7. 'We will continue to publish the list of the richest Chinese,' publisher Steve Forbes said yesterday. 'If you have broken rules and laws, you will eventually be found out and punished.... Just because you are successful today in business does not mean that you will be successful tomorrow in business.' Many of those listed resent the unwanted attention it brings. This includes tax officials, local officials who squeeze them for money for their pet projects or criminals looking for kidnap victims. Mr Forbes was speaking at a news conference before the start of the Forbes global CEO conference in Shanghai. The case of Qiao, 52, is a classic rags to riches story. After going into business in 1979 with just 6,000 yuan, he built the Huang He Industrial Group into a firm that employs 3,800, and has an annual turnover of 800 million yuan. His suicide has been linked to an economic dispute. In January, Li Haicang, a steel magnate ranked 27th on last year's list, was shot dead by an old friend in a land dispute. Last Friday, Yang Bin, second on the list in 2001, lost his appeal against an 18-year prison term for fraud and financial malpractice. Yang Rong, third on the list in 2001, is living in the US and last month filed suit against the Liaoning provincial government in a dispute over the ownership of the car firm which he founded.