Public Suicide in China Sparks Online Debate
By Faith Magbanua, June 30, 2018 23:06 PM
Following the aftermath of a Chinese student who committed suicide by throwing herself off a building, the story has sparked online anguish and focus on how suicide should be handled by the authorities.
A 19-year-old student, surnamed Li, jumped to her death from the eighth story of a building in the city of Qingyang, last Wednesday, June 20, 2018.
One of the reasons why the Chinese student had committed suicide are complaints of sexual harassment done to her by her teacher. However, reports are saying that the distress of the young girl has also been gravely affected because some onlookers egged her on and clapped when she jumped.
In the videos that are being shared online, it shows Li sitting on a ledge for hours, while rescue workers tried to talk her down.
However, amid the situation she was in, some passersbys on the street below heckled her, shouting "How come you haven't jumped yet?"
When she jumped, some people even clapped, while a rescuer screamed in distress.
Right after her death, the police have detained some onlookers who shouted at Li, according to the state-backed newspaper China Youth Daily.
On the other hand, online commentators lamented the callousness of the crowd. "How cold is society that people will ask her to jump?" one person asked.
"The sound of the rescue worker's heart being torn reflects the evil of humanity."
On the other hand, Li's parents say their daughter became depressed after she was sexually harassed in September by a teacher who had tried to kiss and hug her, according to news sources.
Many Chinese schools and universities have been rocked by accusations of sexual harassment.
Rights activists and students had hoped to ride the wave of the global #MeToo movement to make progress in tackling what they say is systemic sexual harassment on campuses.
But the movement has struggled to maintain momentum in China due to widespread online censorship.
Some schools have also pressed students not to organize protests or to post accusations of harassment, activists say.
Li's parents told the newspaper the harassment had led to bouts of depression, a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress, and multiple attempts of suicide by their daughter.
The parents were offered 350,000 yuan (€45,877) in compensation by the school, but they declined it as that would have required withdrawing their complaint against the teacher.
"We could not sign that humiliating agreement," news sources quoted the parents as saying.
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