Beijing's top man in Macau falls to his death: Zheng Xiaosong 'suffered from depression'

Top News | Phoenix Un 22 Oct 2018

Macau liaison office director Zheng Xiaosong fell to his death from his home in a 22-story luxury building, with Beijing officials saying he had been depressed.

The death of the 59-year-old Zhang on Saturday night was confirmed yesterday by the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office in Beijing.

It said in a statement that Zhang, who was appointed last September, died in a fall from the residential block "because he suffered from depression."

It also said the Organization Department of the Communist Party Central Committee sent representatives to console Zheng's family.

Macau Fire Services Bureau received a report at 7pm on Saturday that a man fell from height at the Hung On Torre Building.

Firemen arrived to find Zheng dead, and the case was handed over to the Judiciary Police. Judiciary police director Sit Chong-meng said investigators were still on the case.

It was understood that Zheng had already been to Beijing for treatment for ill health, staying for almost a month.

His last appearance in public was on Friday when he met members of the Think Tank of United Citizens.

His death came just as officials in Macau were being stretched for the launch of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge tomorrow, with President Xi Jinping expected to officiate.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor expressed sorrow over Zheng's death, recalling that she knew him as a Fujian provincial official when she was Hong Kong's chief secretary and they co-chaired the first Hong Kong-Fujian Cooperation Conference in 2015.

Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on sent messages of condolence to the family and to the liaison office, expressing sorrow on behalf of the SAR administration.

The president of the Macau Legislative Assembly, Ho Iat-seng, also a member of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, said: "Zheng was a nice and friendly person. He was hardworking and met many different groups from business and labor sectors."

Ho said he last saw Zheng when Vice Premier Han Zheng met a Macau legislative delegation in Beijing.

Zheng had said they would meet in Macau, Ho recalled, but their chat "turned out to be a farewell."

Macau legislator Leong Sun-iok from the Federation of Trade Unions said he found Zheng a serious person with down-to-earth attitudes. "He was very concerned about people's livelihoods and economic development, and compared with his predecessors he was very friendly," Leong said.

Zheng went to Macau after a major reshuffle of liaison office personnel last year.

That saw Hong Kong liaison office chief Zhang Xiaoming promoted to chief of the Hong Kong and Macao Office.

Macau liaison office chief Wang Zhimin took the Hong Kong position, while Zheng was transferred to Macau.

Born in 1959 in Beijing, Zheng became a party member in 1986 before graduating from the University of Oslo, majoring in Norwegian.

Zheng, considered to be very familiar with Hong Kong and Macau affairs, joined the general office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993 and became an assistant to then vice minister Jiang Enzhu, who in 2000 became the first Hong Kong liaison office head.

He went to the University of Oxford to study diplomacy in 1999 then returned the Ministry of Finance.

In 2013 he was transferred to Fujian as its deputy governor and became a member of the provincial party standing committee and then its secretary-general.

He became the deputy head of the International Liaison Department of the Party Central Committee before transferring to Macau.

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