(Bloomberg) — A former mainland Chinese reporter who became a public figure after his assault by protesters at Hong Kong’s airport during the 2019 unrest, has died.
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Fu Guohao died in October 2021 aged 30 after suffering from depression, the South China Morning Post reported, citing his father Fu Chengxue who announced it on Thursday on Toutiao, a Twitter-like platform. The elder Fu delayed revealing the news because he was “considering national interests,” he told the newspaper.
Fu Guohao shot to national prominence when he was attacked and detained by Hong Kong protesters occupying the airport during the height of the city’s 2019 anti-government protests. At the time, Fu was working for the Global Times, a nationalistic tabloid.
Protesters had suspected him of being a security agent from the nearby mainland city of Shenzhen who was posing as a demonstrator. A sign was put on his chest saying “I am China’s police.” The incident, broadcast on live television, marked a turning point for the movement due to the use of violence.
Three suspects involved in the incident were found guilty of rioting and assault in January 2021, and given jail sentences of as long as five years and six months, the SCMP said.
The father said the assault, as well as other events which he didn’t elaborate on, had a “domino-like” effect on his son’s mental health, the SCMP reported.
News of Fu’s death elicited an outpouring of support and commemoration on Chinese social media.
–With assistance from Jing Li.
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