The suicide of the Chinese general provokes debate in the media

  Zhang Yang Royalty-free image

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Former military leader Zhang Yang was found dead at his home on November 23

A former Chinese high-ranking military officer took his own life, state media say, sparking a debate about possible circumstances.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, Zhang Yang was found dead at his home last Thursday. .

State media say he had been suspected of corruption and that the police interrogated him before his death.

The silence of the media about his whereabouts since August had created intrigue both in Hong Kong and on social networks.

China Daily suddenly announced in August that it would appoint a new figure for its role as director of political work.

Who was Zhang Yang?

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Zhang Yang (center) led a delegation to Angola in May 2017 to boost bilateral military relations

Zhang had served as a general in the People's Liberation Army and was considered a key ally of President Xi Jinping, rising rapidly since Mr. Xi took office in 2012.

Zhang had been a member of the Central Military Commission (CMC), the highest ranking military branch of the Communist Party government.

He was also a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and served as director of the General Political Department of the army, the administrative department that oversees the policy of the army. activities

What did the media say about the disappearance?

Rumors circulated in late August that Zhang, along with another high-ranking official, Fang Fenghui, was being investigated in connection with President Xi's current anti-corruption campaign [19659007] Hong Kong's Ming Pao newspaper said late August that the CMC was expected to undergo a "major personnel restructuring" before the October National Congress: China's most important policy to the event when key changes in the country's leadership are announced.

An article of August 23 in the newspaper said that both men were expected to be replaced. However, no mention was made of this in the mainland media at that time and there has been no news of the men since the beginning of August.

The speculation intensified after none of the men appeared in the military delegation at the congress.

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CCTV announces on Monday that the former military chief took his own life

In a September 1 report, Sing Tao of Hong Kong said that both men had been detained "for alleged gross violation of discipline."

Sing Tao is a pro-Beijing newspaper that often carries the coverage of state media in mainland China. However, there were no reports in the Beijing media at that time.

Xinhua only mentioned on Monday that Zhang had been questioned by police in August and that he was "suspected of bribery and property crimes on a large scale."

He added that he was being questioned in relation to the cases of Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong, two former CMC generals who were investigated in March 2014 and July 2015.

Reuters [19659004] Caption photo

Zhang According to reports, he was interrogated for links to Xu Caihou, pictured, who died in 2015 of cancer

What's on social networks?

Zhang's death has been an important topic of conversation in Chinese social networks, although many users expressed surprise that they were able to comment freely, given their political sensitivity.

Many Sina Weibo users wonder why it took the official media five days to announce the death. One said: "[The government] needed to make sure that all major media had their manuscript ready in advance."

Some users expressed their surprise at being able to take their own lives, given that they were being investigated.

It is said, in a carefully written Weibo publication: "It is said to have been a suicide, but in fact …"

Another user says: "The dead can not talk" and another that: "If you are dead, it can protect more people. "

BBC Monitoring reports and badyzes TV news, radio, web and print media from around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook .

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