Xu Huaiqian (徐怀谦) was born in a village in Shandong Province, in 1968. He graduated at Beijing University’s (Bei Da) Chinese Faculty in 1989 and then worked at People’s Daily‘s arts and literature department. He left People’s Daily for two years, in 1999, and went to Yucheng County in Henan Province to work there temporarily, for two years, as a county (party) committee deputy secretary
His work as a journalist wasn’t confined to People’s Daily – the list of papers he wrote for includes Southern Weekend (南方周末), a progressive and liberal paper in Guangdong Province. His last function was at a supplement paper to People’s Daily, Da Di (大地, “The Land” or “Earth”), as deputy editor-in-chief.
One of the initial – or the initial – microblog posts came from Hangzhou City Express (都市快报) chief editorialist Xu Xunlei (徐迅雷) on the day of Xu Huaiqian’s death and said that Xu had unfortunately died (不幸去世), and mentioned depression as the cause of death. Jiangsu Net explicitly reported that Xu had suffered from depression and had committed suicide (via Sohu, via Dongfang Net). The article also quotes Xu himself, from one of his books:
Some people say that this is a mediocre era, an era without substance, of foolish music, without mastry. But we can’t blame on this on the era. An individual can’t control the era, but he can control his face. He may not be pretty, but he can’t be without content. He may be ugly, but he can’t be without personality.
» Reactions, RFA, Aug 23, 2012
» Not by Magic, Xu Huaiqian (via Paper Republic), June 2012