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Chinese Official Li Zuobi Dies amid Investigation into Deaths of 21 Marathon Runners

Adam WellsJune 11, 2021

Paul Yeung/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Li Zuobi, Jingtai County Communist Party Secretary, died while under investigation for his involvement in the deaths of 21 marathon runners. 

Per the Associated Press, China Central Television reported that police were "notified Wednesday that a man had jumped from his apartment and died."

An investigation into the death determined the person was Li. CCTV added that homicide has been ruled out. 

Li's death comes less than one month after 21 ultra-marathon runners died when extreme weather conditions, including freezing rain, hail stones and gale winds, developed in the Gansu Province during the 62-mile race. 

Per GlobalTimes.cn, the weather conditions resulted in "discomfort and hypothermia among marathoners." 

A total of 172 people participated in the event, with the Global Times noting on May 23 that 151 have been confirmed to be safe and 21 found dead after rescue efforts were set up to search for the missing runners. 

According to the AP report, the Gansu provincial government issued punishments to 27 officials over a lack of proper planning for the May 22 race.

Li was ruled exempt from discipline after his death, but his deputy, Zhang Wenling, was fired and two "lower-ranking officials were detained pending a further investigation."

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