An official from a state-owned enterprise (SOE) in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, has died while undergoing the shuāngguī (双规) disciplinary process, according to the People’s Procuratorate of Wenzhou.
It is not known what Yu Qiyi, chief engineer and Party representative at the Wenzhou Industry Investment Group, was being investigated for. He “suffered an accident” on Monday night while being questioned by the local Party disciplinary commission. Yu died shortly after being sent to hospital. Photos circulated on the Chinese web appear to show that he had undergone a severe beating in the time before his death.
Shuanggui is an extra-legal system used to discipline and control Party members. As the Guardian reported in May, 2012:
While information on shuanggui is sparse, [Flora] Sapio’s research suggests brief questioning is usually followed by demands for a confession, which is rejected as “insufficient or insincere” and must be repeated in increasing detail.
The suspect is usually watched round the clock – sometimes even when using the toilet – and windows are shut with blinds drawn so that all sense of time dissolves. Detainees may not read, watch television or communicate with their families. Physical abuse is not unknown, according to Sapio.
The New York Times also investigated the shuanggui process last year:
When party members are caught breaking the rules — or even when they merely displease a superior — they can be dragged into the maw of an opaque Soviet-style disciplinary machine, known as “shuanggui,” that features physical torture and brutal, sleep-deprived interrogations.
Few who have been pulled into the system emerge unscathed, if they emerge at all. Over the last decade, hundreds of officials have committed suicide, according to accounts in the state news media, or died under mysterious circumstances during months of harsh confinement in secret locations. Once interrogators obtain a satisfactory confession, experts say, detainees are often stripped of their party membership and wealth. Select cases are handed over to government prosecutors for summary trials that are closed to the public.
An investigation will be carried out into Yu’s death, according to state media.