Chinese police find hanged body of teenager who had been missing for 3 months


Several high-schoolers have gone missing, sparking speculation in China about organ-trafficking gangs

Chinese police find hanged body of teenager who had been missing for 3 months

Hu Xinyu’s body was found in the grain warehouse in the woods [right] behind his school in Jiangxi province’s Qianshan county.

Chinese police have found the body of a teenager who had been missing for more than three months hanging in a grain warehouse a few minutes’ walk from his school, one of a slew of young people reported missing around China in recent months.

Police in Jiangxi province’s Qianshan county found the body of Hu Xinyu – a 15-year-old student at Zhiyuan High School who was reported missing on Oct. 14 – after receiving a tip-off, according to a report in the Chinese Communist Party newspaper the People’s Daily.

Hu was one of more than 10 teenagers who have disappeared in recent months, sparking widespread speculation on social media that they had fallen victim to organ-trafficking crime gangs following a loosening of rules around organ transplants in September 2022. Thousands of volunteers have joined in the manhunt for the young people or for clues about their cases.

The China Daily report said that police found the body was wearing the same clothes as Hu Xinyu had on when he went missing, and that a DNA test confirmed it was his body.

While the body had no ID, phone or money on it, police did find a digital voice recorder disguised as a pen, which has been taken away for forensic analysis, the report said.

“Investigations are ongoing … and relevant information will be released to the public in a timely manner,” the report said.

An officer who answered the phone at the Shangrao municipal police department, which administers Qianshan county, declined to comment.

“You need to keep an eye on our official social media accounts,” the officer said. “We will publish updates when there are new developments.”

People are suspicious

Wu Shaoping, a lawyer who has been following Hu’s missing person case, said many people are highly suspicious that the police had refused to accept the missing person report, sparking widespread rumor-mongering and speculation over his fate on social media.

“If Hu Xinyu really did commit suicide as they are saying, then why, and how did he find this remote corner [to do it in],” Wu said. “And why didn’t they discover his body before now — I would have thought they would have deployed police dogs and other technological methods in a case of such nationwide importance.”

Official media have reported on missing high-schoolers across China, including the central city of Wuhan, the southern province of Guangdong, and the central province of Henan, in recent months.

Li Lianchun, mother of missing Wuhan 14-year-old Liu Aocheng, said her son went missing on Nov. 12, 2022, around one month after Hu, with no progress in the case so far.

“He just went out for a walk after taking out the trash, and walked along the alley next to the basketball court, out of sight of the surveillance cameras,” Li told Radio Free Asia in an interview on Nov. 20, 2022. “There are quite a lot of kids missing now, all around the same age as mine, which seems rather bizarre.”

Li said she and others think there is a possible connection with the loosening of rules around organ transplants in September 2022.

“It seems more kids are going missing since the rules were relaxed,” she said. 

Hu was last seen attending an evening study session at his school on Oct. 14, while a 17-year-old girl from Panyu, Guangdong province was reported missing on Oct. 22.

Just a few days later, an 18-year-old woman disappeared from the northeastern province of Jilin on Nov. 4, followed by a 15-year-old boy who was reported missing from Shantou, Guangdong province on Nov. 5.

A 15-year-old girl was already reported missing from Maoming city, also in Guangdong, according to media reports.

New law governing organ transplants

Lin Shengliang, who tracks bullying incidents in schools and universities, said he has also noticed a spike in missing teens since September.

“The Chinese Communist Party passed legislation governing organ transplants, making it easier to do, firstly,” Lin told RFA in a Nov. 21 interview.

“Huang Jiefu, the former vice minister for health, has stated on a number of different occasions that China will become the world’s biggest country for organ transplants [as a result of the new law],” he said.

Human trafficking and illegal organ harvesting have long been a problem in China.

Authorities in the eastern province of Anhui sentenced a doctor to two years’ imprisonment in 2021 for “illegally harvesting organs” from 11 people, while reports began to surface as early as 2017 of dozens of college students who went missing in the central city of Wuhan.

But former high school teacher Pan Lu said he had counted “dozens” of reports of missing high-schoolers since September.

He said he found it hard to believe that they could just disappear, given the nationwide “Skynet” surveillance and facial recognition systems available to the Chinese police.

“There is nowhere in mainland China that isn’t covered by surveillance cameras,” Pan said. “So yes, it’s pretty incredible that dozens of young people can mysteriously disappear.”

The day after Hu Xinyu’s body was found, his mother Li Lianying checked into a hotel under police surveillance and waited for news, according to cutting-edge news site Caixin.

She said Hu’s clothing appeared to have been put on back to front, with the zipper at the back, questioning whether Hu had hanged himself, or whether someone else had arranged his body in that manner.

“I want the truth, not fake answers,” the report quoted her as saying.

Translated by Luisetta Mudie. Edited by Malcolm Foster.

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