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China Daily Global / 2021-04 / 08 / Page006

Sick team leader put duty ahead of cancer treatment

By YANG ZEKUN | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-04-08 00:00

Officer wanted to finish work on crime crackdown

The world of police officer Zhang Yan's family collapsed in August when they were told the sad news he had terminal pancreatic cancer.

Although his doctor wanted to admit him to the hospital immediately to undergo chemotherapy, Zhang delayed the treatment for more than 20 days, according to his colleagues.

With an acute awareness of his mortality, Zhang was worried he might not be able to complete his work as head of the criminal investigation branch of the Qinhuangdao public security bureau in Hebei province. A three-year national campaign against organized crime was due to end in December.

"Following the diagnosis I had to face up to my disease in the correct way," Zhang said in an interview before his death on March 1.

"After I became a criminal investigation policeman, I didn't put too much emphasis on life and death.

"Time is precious to me and I must take the time to do more. I felt that I had not finished dealing with many things including work and family."

On March 21, the Ministry of Public Security posthumously awarded Zhang the title of "hero and a model of the national public security system".

A former colleague, Liu Dong, said Zhang was a talented investigator who worked for days on end to crack tough cases.

"He worked so hard during those years, just like a machine that ticks over every day," Liu said. "He often handled outside cases, slept in the office and sometimes did not return home for two weeks."

Early last year, Zhang started rubbing his belly but refused to have a medical check saying he was too busy handling cases.

He thought it was just a common stomach disorder. However, in August he couldn't sleep due to intense pain and was diagnosed with cancer, Liu said.

Zhang Jinfeng, who worked with Zhang Yan for 13 years, said the late officer regarded criminal investigation as his lifelong work.

"We learned a lot about investigation and interrogation techniques from him, and he was a role model for us," he said.

Zhang Yan's wife Gao Yun said he always gave priority to his job.

Due to his work he missed their wedding ceremony in 1994 and their daughter's birth the next year, Gao said.

When his mother died in 2003, Zhang was chasing a group of suspects in another province and arrived home five days after she passed away.

Born in 1969, Zhang Yan joined the Qinhuangdao public security bureau in Hebei Province in 1990 after graduating from the Criminal Investigation Police University of China, in Shenyang.

During the national campaign launched by the central government in 2018, he commanded and participated in the investigation of 16 mafia-style organizations and 65 other criminal gangs, the bureau said.

Zhang also promoted training of police officers to adapt to emerging crimes.

He was involved in the building of the first center in Hebei province to deal with telecom fraud and the formation of teams in 2016 to fight such crimes.


Zhang Yan (left) at a crime scene with a colleague. CHINA DAILY



Zhang reads a book while receiving treatment in a hospital in Qinhuangdao, Hebei province. CHINA DAILY



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