Crime expert defends her suicide comments

Updated: 2011-09-02 08:17

By Cao Yin and Zhao Yinan (China Daily)

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BEIJING - A controversial criminologist defended her decision to wade into the debate over whether a dead official found with 11 stab wounds committed suicide, despite harsh criticism from netizens.

Crime expert defends her suicide comments

Family members of Xie Yexin, an anti-corruption official who was found dead in his office, interrupt a news conference in Hubei's Gong'an county on Aug 29 and question the police's conclusion that Xie had committed suicide. [Photo/ China Daily]

Li Meijin has come under fire for a blog post saying that she supports the suicide conclusion reached by the police investigating the death of Xie Yexin, whose bloody corpse was discovered in his office on Tuesday.

Many people dismissed the finding that Xie, a 46-year-old anti-corruption official in Gong'an county, Hubei province, took his own life. However, Li, an eminent professor at the Chinese People's Public Security University, said she believes that scenario is possible, explaining that some people in serious mental distress are often compelled to "torture themselves" before they die.

Crime expert defends her suicide comments

"For a person who shoulders huge pressure or sorrow, he or she may look for punishment in ending his or her life," she told China Daily on Thursday.

Her original remarks have been forwarded at least 3,000 times on Sina Weibo, the Chinese micro-blogging website, and attracted almost 2,000 comments. Most observers accused her of being "unbelievable" and "short on logic", while some called on Li to prove her conjectures.

On Thursday, she defended her comments, saying she was speaking in general terms and not about Xie's death specifically.

"I don't regret speaking out. I was just talking about a way of suicide, not that official's death," said Li, who previously made headlines by saying that Yao Jiaxin, a student who brutally stabbed a woman to death after hitting her with his car, was simply performing "a mechanical repetition, as if hitting piano keys".

"Looking into (Xie's death) is the work of the police and medical experts, and they should do more investigations if his family still does not accept the suicide conclusion."

The police took pictures of Xie at the scene where he was found. The pictures show him slumped in a chair, his short-sleeved sweater soaked in blood. Initial investigations show he had received 11 stab wounds to the front of his body. His trachea and throat had both been cut.

After a two-day investigation, the police held a news conference and announced Xie had killed himself. Detectives said a knife, similar to one missing from Xie's home, was found on the floor with its handle wrapped in tissue paper.

The official conclusion met with strong opposition from Xie's family, who argued that it is unlikely anyone could commit suicide by stabbing himself 11 times with a knife wrapped in tissue. Police responded by saying the first 10 wounds were "tentative" and "not fatal".

According to media reports, Xie was a "dedicated" anti-corruption official who had been investigating a series of cases, including one that was alleged to involve the deputy Party chief of Gong'an county.

Xie's case has been followed by online rumors about a similar incident in Hubei province on Monday, when a 47-year-old man fell to his death from the top of a four-story building. Netizens claimed both the victim's Achilles tendons had been cut.

A police statement published online on Thursday said the dead man - identified as Cao Xinquan - was a cashier for a local company. It said he had committed suicide after auditors found irregularities in an account he was working on.

The statement did not mention Cao's Achilles tendons, but said an autopsy will be carried out.