Autopsy: Drowning cause of Chinese girl's death

BEIJING - A third autopsy on a teenage girl whose death sparked a riot last weekend in southwest China confirmed she died of drowning, while two more top local officials have been fired, state media reported Friday.

Xinhua News Agency said the autopsy on high school student Li Shufen confirmed the initial police findings, which had angered locals who believe she was raped and murdered, perhaps by children of local officials. In response, 30,000 people rampaged through Weng'an on Saturday, torching cars and the police headquarters in the town in hilly Guizhou province.

The autopsy on Li also confirmed she was not the victim of a sexual attack, Xinhua said, citing the provincial Communist Party secretary.

But the girl's family was skeptical of the police view that she was unhappy and had killed herself.

Li's brother, Li Shuyong, told the China Daily newspaper in an interview published Friday that he didn't know two men the girl was last seen with. He said he was expecting a "different result" from the latest autopsy.

Police have not made the three people Li was last with a classmate surnamed Wang and two young men available for interviews, the newspaper said.

The autopsy was conducted by five experts from the Guizhou public security department and the Higher People's Court, Xinhua said.

Also Friday, Weng'an County Communist Party secretary Wang Qin and county government chief Wang Haiping were removed from their posts, Xinhua reported.

The report did not give the reason for their dismissals, although it quoted provincial party boss Shi Zongyuan as saying that local officials had neglected their duties.

Officials' "rude and rough-handed solutions" in dealing with disputes, such as the demolition of homes and relocation of residents to build reservoirs, had been one of the main reasons behind the riot, Shi said.

The local police chief and another police official had been fired earlier in the week for what Xinhua called "serious negligence." It did not elaborate.

China has stepped up security across the country to maintain stability ahead of the Olympic Games, and puts the responsibility for law and order on local officials.

Police detained 59 people for their alleged roles in the violence, in which 30,000 rioters torched the police station and county government building, and flooded the streets with security. Sixteen people are still in detention, Xinhua said.