An Alcatel-Lucent China executive who accused his bosses of graft is found dead

Shanghai’s Huangpu River.
Shanghai’s Huangpu River.
Image: Reuters/Carlos Barria
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The body of Jia Lining—the head of human resources at Chinese telecom equipment provider Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell Enterprises, who had accused high-ranking executives of corruption—has been found several weeks after his family reported him missing, the company said today.

“We can confirm that a body has been found in the case of the missing employee of Alcatel Lucent Shanghai Bell,” Simon Poulter, a spokesman for Alcatel Lucent, told Quartz. “Investigations are continuing.”

Jia was reported missing by his family on Jan. 14, after accusing “many high-level executives at ASB and its subsidiaries of corruption and abusing their power” in a post on a WeChat group, Caixin reported Jan. 16, citing a person “close to” China’s State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration, the government agency that regulates state companies.

Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell Enterprises, often abbreviated ASB, is a joint venture between the French telecom company and China’s state-owned investment arm, and is the French company’s flagship China venture. ASB has played a key role in China’s roll-out of new communications technology, including a $840 million deal to support China Mobile’s massive 4G telecom introduction.

Jia’s body was found in a tributary of the Huangpu River, which flows through Shanghai, during the Chinese New Year holiday that ended Feb. 24, Caixin reported today, citing unnamed company executives. His abandoned car was found on a nearby bridge.

In Jia’s WeChat post, which has not been made public, he “wrote that he had been reported to anti-corruption officials on the firm’s party committee, but the misdeeds were in fact committed by others,” Caixin reported. He accused nine of ASB’s top officials, including company chairman Yuan Xin, of corruption and graft. The company’s Communist Party committee, a political employee group that is present inside most companies in China, refuted Jia’s accusations and accused Jai of distorting facts and imagining things in a Jan. 18 statement.

After news of Jia’s death was reported, Chinese netizens left messages about him on his personal Sina Weibo page, where his last posts, on Dec. 28, were about songs he liked. “Mr Jia is upright; everyone knows the reason behind his death,” one commenter wrote. A Sina Finance news article about his death (link in Chinese) quoted police who called his death “consistent with drowning,” and who had therefore ruled out homicide. It solicited over 700 Weibo comments, many of them angry. A “head pressed into the water is consistent with drowning” said one.

In January, Alcatel-Lucent appointed its president of operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa as chief executive of the China joint venture. Alcatel-Lucent’s revenues in Asia-Pacific dipped 1% in 2014, thanks to a “temporary slowdown in China,” the company said in its latest quarterly results, which made no mention of the Shanghai Bell Enterprise division.

Zheping Huang contributed reporting