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Government official the latest detainee death in Yunnan

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A 52-year-old education official is the latest detainee to die in government custody in Yunnan, this time in the northeastern city of Zhaotong.

According to local media reports, Wei Jingling (魏静玲), a section chief for the Zhaoyang district education bureau in Zhaotong, was taken to the local procuratorate around March 24 for questioning under a corruption inquiry. On March 26 her corpse was taken to a local hospital.

Like earlier detainee deaths in Yunnan, the case has become a hot topic in Chinese-language forums – this time after one netizen wrote that Wei had sustained knife wounds and that police had initially told family members that she had committed suicide.

There were three high-profile detainee deaths in Yunnan last year, the most notable being that of Li Qiaoming, a young man arrested for illegal logging who died from injuries sustained in a detention center in Jinning county.

Police initially claimed that Li had fatally injured himself while playing "elude the cat", a Chinese equivalent of hide-and-seek. The official account was later revised, with Li's fellow inmates accused of beating him to death.

The Wei Jingling case is different from last year's detainee deaths, in which the victims were private citizens. According to one newspaper account, Wei was a middle-level cadre.

Five officials in the Zhaotong procuratorate office have been suspended for Wei's "abnormal death", which is currently under investigation.

On March 15 the Yunnan government released a plan to protect the welfare of detainees in the province.

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