By XI MEI
Western Media Correspondent
SHANGHAI (China Daily Show) – It was a day of mourning at the China offices of the New York Times today, after its ace reporter Chase Ketterman was discovered buried alive beneath a gigantic mound of paperwork.
The paper’s redoubtable 47-year-old Pulitzer Prize-winning Shanghai bureau chief had reportedly been spending long hours at night, tracking down information pertaining to possible tax loopholes enjoyed by the family members of Premier Li Keqiang.
However, it seems Ketterman’s obsessional pursuit of documentary evidence proving possible financial chicanery by Chinese leaders had grown out of control, even by Times standards.
The fatal stack of papers is said to have included tax records, spooling faxes, share certificates, old news clippings, public documents, probate letters, bus tickets, business cards, taxi receipts, restaurant fapiao, jotted notes on paper napkins, random doodles, school textbooks, a hardback edition of The Complete Speeches of Zhu Rongji (Volume 6: 1982-87), several copies of the last will and testament of Jiang Zemin, and a stack of empty pizza boxes.
There is no question of any fiscal impropriety involving Premier Li, the Times admitted.
“We didn’t want to give false hope to the family by saying that he was found buried alive,” Sanlitun police chief Zhao Bing later explained at a press conference. “But technically, Ketterman was buried alive,’ inasmuch as he was dead when we later found him.”
Forensic tests suggest that Ketterman’s dogged pursuit of the mile-long paper trail became a one-way ticket to tragedy at around 11pm Monday, when the veteran journalist reached for a folder of redacted tax returns from underneath a squashed carton of stale baozi, and triggered an avalanche of accounting.
“When I came into the office, Chase was up to his eyeballs in incriminating clerical documents and had asphyxiated on half a steamed bun,” sobbed impressionable 22-year-old news assistant Mai Huang (pictured, left) who found the body.
“Do you think I should tell his wife about us now?”
His family has announced that they intend to respect Ketterman’s wishes by not disturbing his papery grave.
“At the moment, we’re simply going to leave him there, as per his will’s precise instructions in case of emergency,” a family spokesman said. “It’s how he would’ve wanted to go.”
Meanwhile, the Smithsonian Institute in the US has already expressed an interest in purchasing the mausoleum.
The museum issued a statement saying that the Shanghai-based tomb was a “historical landmark of journalism,” remarking that, “there can be no greater legacy for any Times reporter… than to have his final resting place marked by a vast heap of dry reading material.”