China’s top representative to Macau died Saturday night, after tumbling from the building where he lived “due to depression,” the Chinese government said Sunday.
Zheng Xiaosong, Head of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Macau Special Administrative Region, died “after falling from his residence in Macau due to depression,” according to a statement posted to the office’s official website, state-run media reported.
The statement added that officials from the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council were heading to the territory to offer their condolences to Zheng’s relatives.
No other details were given surrounding his death, but the statement strongly suggested it had been a suicide.
Zheng, 59, was named to the Macau post in September last year and was a member of the ruling Communist Party’s Central Committee, “the party’s highest organ of authority.”
Macau, a former Portuguese colony, operates under China’s “one country, two systems” policy — much like neighboring Hong Kong — and is led by a chief executive who is elected, but must still receive a formal OK from Beijing in order to take office.
The liaison office in Macau is the chief administrative authority for Beijing, which has seen its clout in local affairs grow in recent years. Sovereignty over Macau was transferred to China in December 1999, though the territory retains a degree of autonomy under its Basic Law.
Zheng was involved in talks in the 1990s between Britain and China on political reform in Hong Kong in the run-up to the transfer of sovereignty in 1997, according to the South China Morning Post. Between 1993 and 1996 he was secretary to Jiang Enzhu, a former deputy director of China’s Foreign Ministry.