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China's overall suicide rate plummets

By Matt Prichard   (Shanghai Daily)

09:47, May 28, 2013

The college freshman was reading a cell phone message when, in anguish, anger, frustration or desperation, he suddenly threw down the phone. He climbed onto a fifth-floor balcony on his campus in Pudong, and jumped.

The reason the Spanish-language major, surnamed Sun, killed himself in March has never been disclosed. Witnesses said he was reading the message in a corridor before class and then plunged from the No. 1 Building at the Shanghai Industry and Commerce Foreign Language College on March 18.

According to World Health Organization, 22.23 out of 100,000 people in China commit suicide every year. The sudden end of a promising life from suicide is always disturbing and gives rise to a feeling that something is wrong with modern society.

With more media reports on youngsters committing suicide, some say pressure to succeed - professionally and in marriage - has become too much for sheltered young people raised in one-child households and they are particularly ill-suited to cope.

But that's far from the whole story on suicide in China, which is not always what meets the eye, and is surprising in several ways.

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