Chinese official ‘drowned by investigators’

Six investigators trying to extract a confession held Yu Qiyi’s head under icy water.

A Chinese official who died while he was being interrogated was allegedly drowned by Communist Party investigators, according to a state-run newspaper.

Yu Qiyi, the chief engineer of a state-owned company in Wenzou, in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang, died on 9 April. 

The Beijing Times reports that his head was held in a tub of icy water by six investigators attempting to extract a confession, citing prosecution documents.

The investigators will reportedly be tried for intentional assault.

Mr Yu’s head was submerged under water several times during his interrogation before he was taken to hospital on the night of 8 April, dying early the next morning, the report said.

A coroner's appraisal of Mr Yu's death said the official died after inhaling fluids that caused his lungs to malfunction, according to a photo of document published on the newspaper’s website.

The newspaper has also published pictures showing several bruises on Mr Yu's body.

The story appears to have been published earlier on state-run news agency Xinhua's website as well. However, the link to the story now leads to an error message saying the article has expired or been removed, according to the BBC.

Yu Qiyi, a Communist Party member of Wenzhou Industry Investment Group, died during an internal disciplinary process, known as shuanggui, where officials are asked to confess wrongdoings.

He had been detained in March during an internal investigation into a land deal. His death was initially described as an accident.

“Yu Qiyi was a strong man before the shuanggui process, but he was thin by the time he died,” Mr Yu's wife, Wu Qian, told the newspaper.

“He had many internal and external injuries after the 38 days [in detention].

“Apart from the drowning exposed by the prosecution, he must have been tortured in other ways, and more people may have been involved,” she said.