When Chinese banking regulator Li Jianhua sat down to work on the night of April 22, he probably had no idea that he was writing his last report. The 48-year-old simply collapsed the next morning, having overworked himself through the night. His sudden death elicited mixed reactions from various sections of Chinese society. While his employers – the Chinese Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) – are calling him ‘a model for party members and cadres’, many people are taking to social media to express outrage over the incident.
Li, who joined the Communist Party in 1985, worked for the government in securities and banking regulation. He was brought into the CBRC in 2005, to improve the standards of trust financing – one of the most sensitive areas of China’s financial sector. Li was personally responsible for overseeing investments worth at least $6 trillion. His colleagues remember him as a busy man who never discussed his personal problems, and had very little time for his family.
According to news reports, Li had little regard for his health and always chose work over personal well-being. He had once suffered a terrible outbreak of shingles, but he still chose to carry on with an inspection tour to Hunan province. In early April, his doctor noticed a few disturbing symptoms and advised him to visit the hospital for a checkup. In response, he simply smiled and said he didn’t have any time. A few weeks later, he was dead.