The Chinese Communist Party has launched an official investigation, after a surge in suicides coincided with the government's high profile anti-corruption campaign.

Notices have been put on government websites asking officials to report on unnatural deaths between December 2012 and last year, with the focus on suicides, reports the South China Morning Post.

Since Chinese president Ji Xinping launched his anti-corruption probe in 2012, more than 100,000 people have be arrested, including senior Communist party officials.

Earlier this month, the Communist Party announced that it was investigating spy chief Ma Jian for "serious violations" of the law. This followed the arrest of Zhou Yongkang, the country's former security chief and Zhang Kunsheng, a senior foreign affairs assistant.

Experts said that following the probe, there had been a spike in suicides.

Some officials don't want "to expose the people behind them, so the easiest way is to commit suicide to protect people above them and their family members," Zhang Ming, a political science professor at Renmin University in Beijing, told Bloomberg.

For the investigation, party officials are asked to fill out a form with the personal details of the deceased, including information on the time and method of their suicide, whether they were under investigation for corruption at the time they killed themselves, and what stage the investigation reached.

The paper reported that last year, deputy commissar of the navy, vice admiral Ma Faxiang, was believed to have committed suicide last year, after jumping from a 15th story window in the People's Liberation Army naval headquarters in Beijing.

This followed the deaths of Major general Song Yuwen, deputy commissar of Jilin district days earlier, and Rear Admiral Jiang Jonghua in September, with both also believed to have committed suicide.