Evergrande linked to China plane crash in wild suicide rumour

The co-pilot of China Eastern Airlines flight MU5737 crashed the aircraft in a murder-suicide after losing his life-savings in the Evergrande debt crisis, according to speculation being reported in Chinese media.

One media outlet has examined claims that the pilot, Zhang Zhengping, left a suicide note accusing the leaders of China Eastern of “squeezing” employees and the Chinese Government of creating a “bubble” in the economy. The claims also suggest Zhengping invested in the property giant China Evergrande and all of his savings went to zero when the company began encountering serious debt troubles.

Investigations into the online rumours have failed to determine if they are in fact true, and one expert suggests they’re possibly not.

Chang Su (pseudonym), a former employee of Continental Airlines who now lives in the United States, has told the Epochtimes there is reason to doubt the authenticity of a supposed ‘suicide note’ circulating online.

“It doesn’t look like something written by a person in the industry, it’s shoddy and hard to believe,” Su said.

Su notes that Zhengping was a respected pilot, who in 2018 was described as a “five-star captain” in a report by the China Civil Aviation Network.

The China Eastern Airlines website says he had “been rated as an advanced safety individual of Yunnan Company 7 times” and in 2011, he was awarded the Meritorious Pilot Medal of the Civil Aviation Administration and in 2015, he won the Yunnan Province May 1st Labor Medal.

However, when it came to the claims that the suicide note mentioned complaints about the central government’s economic policy and Evergrande Real Estate, Su said he would “not deny this point.”

“China Eastern Airlines is like a microcosm of today’s Chinese society, where the elites oppress the lower-level people (employees),” Chang Su said.

“It’s nothing new for all to see.”

Investigations into what caused the plane to crash, killing all 132 people on board, are continuing.

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