BEIJING (Reuters) - The general manager of a major Chinese newspaper group that has been in trouble with the government for blackmail and corruption fell to his death on Monday, the newspaper said.
The 21st Century Business Herald carried a short statement on its official microblog from publisher 21st Century Media Ltd saying 21st Century Media’s general manager, Liu Jiandong, had fallen from a building and died despite efforts to save him.
Liu took up his job in January 2015, which he was dedicated to, and was “upright and honest”, the paper said, adding an investigation was going on.
Calls to the newspaper seeking further comment went unanswered.
Police in the southern city of Guangzhou, where the newspaper is based, said it had responded to a call about a man falling from an office building.
Police only identified him by his family name, Liu, and said he was a company general manager. They added that “at the moment” there was no suspicion of murder.
Last year, China’s media regulator revoked the publishing license of the paper’s website for forcing clients to sign advertisement and service contracts by threatening to publish negative news about them.
The regulator also ordered the newspaper to “conduct internal inspections and restructure its management board”.
The same year, a Chinese court jailed Shen Hao, former president of 21st Century Media Ltd., for four years after finding him guilty of extortion and fraud.
The government has vowed to crack down on corruption in many industries including the media.
A trend towards greater commercialization in Chinese media - still heavily controlled by the state - has put pressure on companies to generate greater profits.
The government also keeps a tight rein on what can be said in domestic media, and has punished publications and reporters for reports it views as overly critical of the government or for discussing taboo topics, like controls on ethnic minorities.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel