Reflections on the Suicides of Chinese International Students
Recently stories about two Chinese international students committing suicide circulated on Chinese We-Chat. Both students were regarded as excellent students in the eyes of their parents and the others: they were outgoing, active in the community and academically driven. So what led to this tragedy? Who should take the responsibility? What are the causes? And what can we learn from those tragic?
Such questions linger in the minds of parents, friends, teachers and many others- we want answers. Some people may blame the family’s lack of parenting education, some may blame society’s ideology around success and some may blame the victim for not being tough enough.
Case one: YuanYuan from Nangjing China, committed suicide in Feb 2009. She was a second year economics student at Amsterdam University. The three notes she left behind disclosed: “I am so, so tired. For the last eight years I have been trying to calm down the upheaval of inner turmoil; when it hits me I felt so helpless. Sometimes I have to endure and wait for the turmoil to fade and recover slowly. Life is so busy; I simply do not have time to deal with it anymore. I cannot sense any joy in life, and life itself has become unbearable. I am really tired of this.” She also disclosed that she had battled with OCD for the last eight years.
This case was brought to the limelight by Yuan Yuan’s mother. In her mother’s eyes, her daughter was very considerate, independent, warm hearted, decisive and academically driven- a person who had always presented herself as positive and cheerful. The death of her daughter devastated the mother, what had gone wrong? As a teacher herself she asked what can be done to prevent this kind of thing from happening again.
Case two: Guo Yanjun, 28, immigrated to America in 2001, graduated with an Honors BSc in 2006, worked in investment banking in New York, then registered at MIT (麻省理工学院),majoring in management – a journey much admired by many Chinese students.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA