Li Huizhi had been made a “ministry-level” stability maintenance target during the 2019 National People’s Congress meetings in Beijing
A Chinese poet and current affairs commentator has committed suicide in Guangdong province following “unbearable” surveillance under the tenure of President Xi Jinping.
Li Huizhi, 62, was a vocal critic of Xi Jinping’s policies. He breathed his last in a hospital in Guangdong’s Huizhou city, Radio Free Asia reported. His friend Li Xuewen told RFA that the poet had posted a suicide note online before taking his own life.
“After Li Huizhi had posted his suicide note online, he turned off his phone,” Li Xuewen said. “Li Huizhi took the pesticide, and was taken to hospital after that.”
The note suggested that Li had found the increased surveillance under the tenure of ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) general secretary Xi Jinping unbearable.
There has been less and less room for freedom of public expression since Xi Jinping took power, the letter said.
Li himself had been made a “ministry-level” stability maintenance target during the 2019 National People’s Congress (NPC) meetings in Beijing.
According to RFA, Li’s phone was monitored and he had to report to the state security police if he wanted to make a trip out of town, the letter said.
Li had also suffered a stroke in March 2021, after which his mobility had been greatly affected, it said.
“He was forced to use a wheelchair after the stroke, and suffered from paralysis in his right arm,” Li Xuewen told RFA. “It really did a lot of damage … he wasn’t able to write properly.”
“But he learned pretty quickly how to type with his left hand and carried on writing articles.”
The letter said Li had made repeated requests for the authorities to call off their surveillance teams but to no avail.
The local state security police had replied that the decision wasn’t theirs to make and that they would convey his request higher up the chain of command.