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Dad still doubted son's death after 56 phone calls to notify him

(Shanghai Daily)

09:01, July 03, 2013

FATHER in Xiamen thought that the male voice on the other end of the line claiming his son had drowned was someone playing a trick or a swindler.

But the person who called 56 times over two days actually was the son's classmate and the man's son had died on Sunday, though the family didn't believe it until a relative went to Wuhan, in Hubei Province, to confirm the death yesterday.

A sociology professor called the extreme case a symptom of a growing lack of trust in society, the Wuhan Evening News reported yesterday.

The son, a student and Xiamen native surnamed Chi, drowned while playing in water in Wuhan. The son's classmate, surnamed Xiao, tried over and over to convince the father he was telling the truth.

After searching the phone book for the name Chi, Xiao managed to contact Chi's cousins, who also doubted him.

Xiao gave them Chi's personal information such as birth place, birth date and some of the names of his relatives and the cousin finally sent his sister in Wuhan, surnamed Chen, to confirm the tragic information.

Such a drop in social trust leads to a loss of judgment among people when they are anxious, said Zhou Yunqing, a professor with the Sociology Department of Wuhan University.

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