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Student's poisoning death stirs debate

By Hu Qingyun (Global Times)

11:18, April 18, 2013

Please read: Shanghai postgrad dies after alleged poisoning by roommate

The poisoning death of a graduate student at Fudan University in Shanghai has aroused debate among experts and netizens, some of whom are questioning the country's education system as they recall similar cases involving promising young scholars.

Huang Yang, 27, died on Tuesday afternoon and the university-affiliated Zhongshan Hospital confirmed he had been poisoned.

Shanghai police have detained Huang's roommate, surnamed Lin, as a suspect but have not released further information. An officer told the Global Times on Wednesday that an autopsy will be conducted and details of the type of poison that was used will be released after the investigation has been completed.

Some Web users used the case to criticize China's higher education.

Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, told the Global Times that the education system isn't completely to blame for the poisonings but improvements can be made.

"Our education focuses too much on professional education and ignores moral education. If a student lacks an understanding of their duties to society, he or she might use extreme methods to solve some difficulties in life," Xiong said.

Xiong also suggested strengthening the psychology and moral education of students, which would help them to solve the difficulties in communications.

Liu Tao, a professor with the Chinese People's Public Security University echoed Xiong's opinions, saying university students should learn more about laws and understand the severe punishment for breaking the laws.

Despite the lack of official details in Huang's death, the Oriental Morning Post reported Tuesday that the toxic compound, N-Nitrosodimethylamine, caused his death, making the conclusion after talking to students and experts.

Speculation on the motive for murder has also spread online with one Fudan student saying that Lin's intended target wasn't Huang but another of their roommates. The student's post, which has since been deleted but not before it was widely reposted, cited friends who knew friends of Lin and Huang.

The intrigue has been spurred by similar shocking past cases of student poisonings on university campuses.

In 1994 Tsinghua University student Zhu Ling, a chemistry major, suffered severe brain damage after being poisoned by thallium. There was speculation that Zhu's roommate was responsible but charges were never laid and the case remains unsolved.

In 1997, two students of Peking University survived being poisoned by their classmate with thallium. Their classmate was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

In 2007, three students of the Xuzhou-based China University of Mining and Technology also survived being poisoned by their friend, who was never tried after it was revealed he suffered a psychological disorder.

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