BEIJING Dec 12 The general manager of a major
Chinese newspaper group that has been in trouble with the
government for blackmail and corruption fell to his death on
Monday, the newspaper said.
The 21st Century Business Herald carried a short statement
on its official microblog from publisher 21st Century Media Ltd
saying 21st Century Media's general manager, Liu Jiandong, had
fallen from a building and died despite efforts to save him.
Liu took up his job in January 2015, which he was dedicated
to, and was "upright and honest", the paper said, adding an
investigation was going on.
Calls to the newspaper seeking further comment went
Police in the southern city of Guangzhou, where the
newspaper is based, said it had responded to a call about a man
falling from an office building.
Police only identified him by his family name, Liu, and said
he was a company general manager. They added that "at the
moment" there was no suspicion of murder.
Last year, China's media regulator revoked the publishing
license of the paper's website for forcing clients to sign
advertisement and service contracts by threatening to publish
negative news about them.
The regulator also ordered the newspaper to "conduct
internal inspections and restructure its management board".
The same year, a Chinese court jailed Shen Hao, former
president of 21st Century Media Ltd., for four years after
finding him guilty of extortion and fraud.
The government has vowed to crack down on corruption in many
industries including the media.
A trend towards greater commercialisation in Chinese media -
still heavily controlled by the state - has put pressure on
companies to generate greater profits.
The government also keeps a tight rein on what can be said
in domestic media, and has punished publications and reporters
for reports it views as overly critical of the government or for
discussing taboo topics, like controls on ethnic minorities.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)