Sole survivor sheds light on suicide pact

Source:Global Times Published: 2010-5-12 3:05:44

By Deng Jingyin

How did three young men form a plan to commit suicide with the same ease as if they were organizing a weekend trip to the countryside?

They were all unhappy with their jobs and had problems in their personal relationships, enough to unite them in tragedy, according to Ah You, 19, who was rescued but lost his cousin and friend.

Ah You, his cousin Chen Jian, 21, and You's friend Li Xin, 19, met in park last Tuesday in Taizhou, Zhejiang Province and digested sodium nitrate. Ah You, in severe pain, called emergency services and was saved but his cousin and friend did not make it.

"One person will be afraid of committing suicide, but the three of us gave each other enough courage," You told a local newspaper. "We decided to take the pills in turn, my cousin first, Xin second and me the last one."

According to Hangzhou Daily, the men wanted to die together as friends.

"Physical pain is nothing compared with the pain in my heart," You said.

They chose a path that began several years ago.

They left their hometown in Sichuan Province several years ago with their parents who were looking for work. They failed to get accepted into university and took low-level jobs.

Late on the night of May 4, they met in a park as planned and swallowed the nitrate, a food additive used as a color fixative and preservative in meats and fish but toxic when used in excessive doses or long-term.

You said he met Li Xin in the afternoon and learned that Li had promised Chen Jian they would commit suicide together.

They initially decided to commit suicide by jumping off a building but they failed to find the stairway to the top. Then Li took the sodium nitrite from home, which his parents used to preserve pork.

Ah You, who could not stand the pain, called emergency medical services. He survived while the other two died.

You said that since his parents were busy with work, they seldom talked. And Li had a struggling relationship with a girl.

In China, as in other countries, young people kill themselves for similar reasons. They include social isolation, economic hardship, poor status, or family and relationship problems, as was the case with the three young men.

The three were raised in poverty-stricken families. Their parents are migrant workers.

After leaving school, Chen was trained as a chef and You became an apprentice at a hair salon while Li worked for a take-away restaurant.

Yang Boquan, a psychiatrist helping You, said his client is suffering from depression.

"He said that the poor second generation, especially the children of migrant workers, have some psychological problems. We should pay more attention to them," Yang said.

However, Zhang Jiehai, a professor of psychology and a member of the Shanghai Acad-emy of Science, was not sure that young men are more vulnerable just because they are from families of migrant workers.

Posted in: Society

blog comments powered by Disqus