A Chinese police officer who died after a drinking binge with local officials was designated a martyr who "died in the line of duty," the China Daily reported on Tuesday as it condemned China's culture of forced drinking.
Business banquets with government officials are infamous for red-faced shouts of "ganbei," or "bottoms up," as diners try to out-drink each other and gain concessions and connections.
The practice is considered ill-mannered in some cities such as Shanghai but is common throughout much of China, especially at local levels of government.
Traffic officer Chen Lusheng of the southern city of Shenzhen was off-duty when he attended a banquet with officials from Mabu village in late October. After repeated toasts, he vomited and passed out on a couch, where he suffocated, the China Daily said.
Police said they named him a martyr in order to raise the compensation they could offer his family, who have descended upon the station to set up a mourning hall. Compensation was nearly doubled to 650,000 yuan ($95,190 U.S.), and police employees have been asked to donate more, but the family wants 4.8 million yuan.
Police officially reported that Mr. Chen died "while talking about work with the officials of Mabu village," the paper said.
Earlier this year, Chinese papers reported with disapproval the death of an official with the local water resources bureau in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, who died of a heart attack at age 47 after drinking excessive amounts of alcohol at a banquet.
Last month, the Party secretary of Xiaogang village in Anhui province, known as the birthplace China's rural reform, was found dead in bed after a banquet with two businessmen, the paper said.