Xinhua editor found dead inside newsroom in apparent suicide

Long-time bureau chief had battled depression, sources said

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 April, 2014, 2:14pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 April, 2014, 4:25pm

A senior Xinhua editor was found dead in his office in Anhui last night, according to a mainland media report and sources familiar with the situation.

There has been no official word on the cause of the death of Song Bin, vice-president and chief editor of Xinhua’s Anhui provincial branch, amid speculation that he may have committed suicide.

Sources said his body was found in his office around 7pm yesterday.

A person close to the initial investigation said Song hanged himself in the office following a long struggle with depression. Another person said Song had just been promoted to lead Xinhua’s bureau in Hainan last week.

Xinhua has not officially announced Song’s death. The news agency’s Anhui bureau was not immediately available for comment. But the mainland online news outlet Caixin reported Song’s death this morning.

Caixin’s report cited media insiders and those who know Song personally. It said Song was known for his forthright and positive personality, and those who knew him were surprised of his death.

The report also said Song had worked his way up in Xinhua’s Anhui bureau, authoring some award-winning reports. He covered a wide range topics, from social issues to economy.

At the end of February, The Communist Party’s anti-corruption body, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), completed an inspection on Xinhua’s head office as part of the second round of routine disciplinary inspections as part of President Xi Jinping’s anti-graft campaign.

At the time, Li Jingtian, director of the team that inspected Xinhua, said the news agency’s major problems included a lack of effort, inadequate accountability, hidden income and non-existent expenditures in some departments and units, and a lack of communication in selecting and appointing cadres.

He also criticised the agency for failing to separate the party from the news agency’s editing, marketing and market-oriented enterprise operating system, a closeness he said would likely to cause corruption.

Li Congjun, the president of Xinhua News Agency, responded to the inspection and said the agency would take the inspection feedback seriously.

If confirmed Song did take his own life, he would became the second state media or party propaganda official to commit suicide in just more than than a month. On March 24, Li Wufeng, a deputy director of the State Council Information Office, jumped to his death.