China

Top Macau official Zheng Xiaosong dead after fall from building

Zheng Xiaosong in a file photo taken on 14 January 2016 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Zheng was the head of China's liaison office to Macau

China's top representative governing the Chinese territory of Macau has died after falling from a tall building.

Beijing released a brief statement saying that Zheng Xiaosong had been suffering from depression, implying he had killed himself.

Mr Zheng, who was 59, fell off the building where he lived, officials said.

He served as the liaison between the Chinese government and the casino hub of Macau, a former Portuguese colony.

There is no evidence that Mr Zheng had come under the watch of China's pervasive anti-corruption campaign.

However, hundreds of mid-level Chinese officials who had been accused of graft have died in recent years - reportedly by killing themselves, though observers have questioned these accounts.

A statement on the Macau liaison's office website showed that Zheng met with the head of a think tank the day before his death, Reuters reported.

'One country, two systems'

Mr Zhang was educated overseas and and was a member of the Communist Party's Central Committee, one of China's elite ruling bodies.

Like Hong Kong, Macau operates under China's "one country, two systems" policy.

This means it has a degree of self-government but the chief executive must be approved by Beijing after an election.

The head of the special administrative region, Fernando Chui, expressed his "shock" at Zheng's death.

Macau's economy revolves around tourism. It has a long history as a gambling centre, drawing many thousands of visitors every year from China and Hong Kong.

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