Gansu ultramarathon tragedy, the county party secretary’s suicide raises questions

The news that Li Zuobi, secretary of the Jingtai County Party Committee, committed suicide on June 9 was confirmed by the Gansu provincial government, which has been silent about the investigation process, two days later, when it was announced that the deceased county party secretary was mainly responsible for leading the race and 27 people were held accountable, thus ending the investigation and raising many questions.

On May 22, Gansu held in the alpine ultra-marathon race 100 kilometers, through a geopark in Jingtai County, participants were suddenly hit by freezing rain, because the race site precautions are seriously inadequate, no protective measures, resulting in the death of 21 runners, becoming one of the most deadly mountain cross-country race ever.

But the identity of the deceased has not been officially announced, the known deceased are China’s top cross-country runners, marathon runner Liang Jing, and the Paralympics champion Huang Guanjun. But a number of them were amateur runners. One is named Lu Justice, who was a business manager in Guizhou before he was born.

Officials have rushed the case, raising many questions, such as the unclear cause of Li Zuobi’s death. The ‘Wall Street Journal’ quoted several sources as saying that Li Zuobi, a 56-year-old county party secretary, was approached by a Communist Party disciplinary official that morning before he committed suicide. Usually, CCP disciplinary officials look for people who are “involved in corruption,” so could this be related to the investigation of the Super Horse tragedy? Or was the investigation of the accident involved in the process of discipline and illegal behavior?

Another question is, the treatment list looks 27 people, but the leadership responsibility is attributed to the deceased, the other are a bit slapdash, passing by, is a bit as some people criticize the “big things make small, dead people take the blame” taste? Since Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, suicides of officials have occurred frequently, and some netizens say, “If Secretary Li committed suicide because he blamed himself, he was a man who took responsibility.”

After the Chaoma tragedy, public outrage was so great that it alarmed Xi Jinping, why? One analysis by the Wall Street Journal is that the fatal marathon occurred at a sensitive time in China – the Communist Party is busy celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding this July, a party celebration that is a priority for Xi Jinping, and on his instructions, Gansu province launched an investigation into the management of the event. He does not want this matter to affect the atmosphere of the party celebration?

Can this explain Jingtai County Party Secretary Li Zuobi could not stand the pressure from his superiors and finally committed suicide? According to the Gansu provincial government released on the 11th of the incident, the jurisdiction of Jintai County, Baiyin municipal party secretary Su Jun given a political warning, Baiyin Mayor Zhang Xuchen given a political demerit. The suicide of Li Zuobi “has the main leadership responsibility for the incident”, but the person has died, “no longer given disciplinary action.

Beijing political commentator Hua Po told Free Asia, “This is a national-level event, which must be approved by the provincial government, but these leaders are not taking responsibility, but just dumping the pot on a county-level leader. Other netizens expressed sympathy: “As the first person in charge of the county, it feels like he can’t be blamed for the accident that happened in that county, and the heavy mental pressure made him completely run down.”

There are also netizens said, “caused so many deaths, compared to the punishment of those responsible is really an understatement, people have died, I hope to learn from the past, to sum up the lessons, such bad weather is not a leader forethought? Sheep herding old people know to bring a cotton jacket, it is a pity, so many good athletes.”

But more views are, investigate clearly the truth of this matter is more important than anything else, why hold such a major event, so skimpy preparation? After a sudden encounter with bad weather, why are the participants not even the minimum protective equipment for warmth? The organizers received weather information and wind warnings in advance, why did they not take relevant measures? After the participants sent out a distress message, why was the event forced to end only two hours later, but the organizers still did not announce the suspension of the race?

Moreover, the main responsibility for the incident has been left to the deceased, and officials have yet to release the identities of the 21 runners killed. The Gansu provincial government has not yet made a public statement on the investigation process. The Chinese media broke the news some time ago that the authorities were only willing to compensate 950,000 yuan for each of the victims’ families, and most of the families refused to sign the agreement, believing that the compensation was too low, and that it was not a natural disaster but a man-made one, and they wanted an explanation!

Some people question whether the investigation is over? “21 people died without follow-up! All major media are dumb! Official institutions and mud! Is there really any truth to what happened in the system?” The daughter of the slain Justice Lu told the Wall Street Journal that she asked investigators when and where her father’s remains were found and “they were all covering up, they said they didn’t know.”

Other netizens said, “I’ve been hoping for an official list of the 21 people who died. Things can be handled properly. The rules for future cross-country races can be stricter. “