Top Chinese nuclear scientist died after taking his own life
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Zhang Zhijian, a top Chinese nuclear scientist and a professor at the College of Nuclear Science and Technology, has died after he fell down from the main building of the University of Engineering, according to a report from South China Morning Post. No one knew why Zhijian, 41, decided to take his own life considering that he had just been appointed as a new vice-president of the university two days before his death.
Before his death, Professor Zhijian was a member of the Standing Committee of the Party Committee and Vice President of Harbin Engineering University, one of the two Chinese universities that have close relations with the People’s Liberation Army.
Citing a post on Chinese social media platform Weibo, South China Morning Post reported that police in the capital of Heilongjiang ruled out homicide as the cause of death.
“Harbin Engineering University announces with deep grief that Professor Zhang Zhijian regrettably fell off a building and died at 9.34 am on June 17, 2021,” the university’s official account on Weibo wrote in a statement. “The university expresses deep sorrow over the passing of comrade Zhang Zhijian and deep condolences to his family.”
However, many are wondering if there’s a connection between his death and the recently reported leak at China’s nuclear plant near Hong Kong. China later admits damage to the fuel rods. On June 14, China’s Taishan Nuclear Power Plant experienced damaged fuel rods that triggered a build-up of radioactive gases. But three days later, Professor Zhijian later took his own life by jumping off the building. In addition, last June, the university was banned from using a US-developed computer software amid souring relations with the West.
At 9:34 on June 17, Professor Zhang Zhijian, member of the Standing Committee of the Party Committee and Vice President of Harbin Engineering University, fell from the main building of the University of Engineering and died. pic.twitter.com/lCw01ujaxo
— @you (@ziysz) June 18, 2021
In a blog post, New York-based Chinese blogger Jennifer Zeng explains the possible connection between Zhijian’s death and his relationships to the plant. Below are the excerpts from her blog.
Now, the question is, why did Zhang Zhijian kill himself?
Let’s show picture 6. This is a screenshot of the Harbin Engineering University’s announcement about his death. It only says that he “unfortunately dropped from the building and passed away at about 9:34 am on June 17.” And the police had ruled out the possibility of murder, and we feel very sorry about his death, etc.
So, there was no explanation about the cause of his death.
An interesting thing is, as early as 2005, Taishan Nuclear Power Plant’s Chinese owner, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, signed a cooperation agreement with Harbin Engineering University. According to the agreement, Harbin Engineering University would on the one hand train more talents in nuclear power for China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, and on the other hand, do more research.
It was said that the cooperation would promote the transformation of scientific research results into productivity through the combination of industry, academia and research.
Several months after the agreement was signed, in December 2005, Harbin Engineering University established its College of Nuclear Science and Technology, and Zhang Zhijian was the head of this college.
Then, two years later, in 2007, China and France signed an agreement to co-build Tashan Nuclear Power Plant.
The construction of Unit 1 and Unit 2 of Tashan Nuclear Power Plant started in 2009, and Unit 1 entered commercial operation on December 13, 2018.
Then, if you check Zhang Zhijian’s bio, you would find that he had been the head of the College of Nuclear Science and Technology for ten years, from 2005 to 2015.
This overlapped with Tashan Nuclear Power Plant’s design and construction period.
During this period of time, it is very likely that Zhang Zhijian had formed a huge network with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group and maybe other companies, institutions and officials involved in nuclear energy.
So, Chinese commentator Zhou Xiaohui said in his article that he highly suspected that Zhang Zhijian’s suicide had something to do with the leak of Taishan Nuclear Power Plant, given he killed himself right after the CCP publicly responded to the leak, and given his close ties with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, as well as the entire nuclear power industry in China.
Zhou Xiaohui said, maybe Zhang Zhijian had already been questioned by the authorities, or maybe he was given some sort of pressure, or maybe he was too frightened by the incident, or maybe he was afraid that he would be held responsible, or maybe there was something he needed to cover up with his death, etc.
Below is a video from Jennifer’s World explaining the connection between the scientist and the nuclear plant.