Beijing: A senior official at a city court in central China died under mysterious circumstances on Tuesday, his body bruised after 11 days in the custody of anti-graft investigators of the ruling Communist Party, his family said.
Jia Jiuxiang, who was vice president of the Sanmenxia City Intermediate People`s Court in Henan province, is the second case in two weeks to surface of an official dying while being held in the party`s secret detention system, which is not regulated by law.
Jia`s relatives say they suspect he was tortured in detention. His brother-in-law, Zhou Qiang, said Jia was detained April 12 by the local party`s discipline inspection committee and turned up in a local hospital yesterday night and died today morning after attempts to save him failed.
Jia`s wife, who was allowed to see the body, said his face had turned blue and his body was covered in bruises, Zhou said.
"We think that in handling the case, the discipline inspection committee used cruel tactics against him," Zhou said. He said that Jia, 49, had been in good health.
Another relative, Ma Weihua, who identified himself as Jia`s nephew, confirmed details of Zhou`s account and said local officials told the relatives that they would conduct an investigation into Jia`s death.
A man at the party`s Sanmenxia politics and law committee surnamed Song said officials at the committee were aware of the case, but he had no further details.
Ma also said he had heard that Jia was taken in by anti-graft investigators because he had been implicated by another court official who was being investigated. The court could not be reached for comment.
Earlier this month, a senior engineer at a government investment company in the eastern city of Wenzhou died after 38 days in the custody of anti-graft officials.
The official, Yu Qiyi, has become a rallying point for reformers who want to do away with the party`s secret detention system that is prone to abuse but which Chinese leaders depend on to keep members in line.