His friend Li Xuewen told RFA that the poet had posted a suicide note online before taking his own life. "After he had posted his suicide note online, he turned off his phone," Li Xuewen said. "He took the pesticide, and was taken to hospital after that." The note suggested that Li had found the increased surveillance under the tenure of ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) general secretary Xi Jinping unbearable.
There has been less and less room for freedom of public expression since Xi Jinping took power, the letter said. Li himself had been made a "ministry-level" stability maintenance target during the 2019 National People's Congress (NPC) meetings in Beijing. His phone had been monitored and he had to report to the state security police if he wanted to make a trip out of town, the letter said.