[UDPATE: 06/26, 3 am] Multiple onlookers detained for encouraging suicidal girl to jump from building
ollowing a four-hour standoff, a 19-year-old girl dropped to her death from a hotel window in the Gansu city of Qingyang. Video footage captures the heartbreaking, shocking, and horrifying moment when the girl falls; the firefighter trying to save her cries out in agony while the crowd below is heard gasping and screaming, before cheering and clapping.
On June 20th at around 3 pm, the student surnamed Li was spotted sitting on the window ledge. A crowd of a few hundred people gathered in the street below, with some reportedly urging her to “jump quickly!” Some even accused the woman of being an attention-seeker, wanting to live-stream her own suicide.
Footage and photos of Li sitting on the ledge were posted onto Chinese social media, with vile comments such as, “I waited an hour under the sun for you to jump off the building” and “Jump quickly, I have to go pick up my kids.”
Eventually, Li began hanging from the ledge with the firefighter desperately trying to convince her to grab his hand. “Thank you, but I have to go,” she is said to have told him at around 7 pm before letting go.
According to Li’s family, Li had been depressed for the last two years after she was sexually assaulted by her teacher. She left behind a heart-wrenching, six-page, handwritten letter accusing her teacher and asking for justice.
In the letter, Li says that on September 5th, 2016, when she was 17 years old, she went to her school’s medical room after being troubled by a stomachache. Li’s teacher, surnamed Wu, went to check on her in the resting area and took the opportunity to inappropriately touch her face, kiss her mouth, and bite her ear. He then continued to touch her lower back and tear off some of her clothes. Luckily, another teacher walked into the medical room and Li was sent back to her dorm.
The school apparently tried to sweep the incident under the rug, ordering Wu to apologize to Li and then telling the girl to go back to class — with Wu still serving as her teacher.
Li was then forced to go to the police with her allegations. However, they proved similarly unhelpful with a court deciding not to charge Wu with any crime, reasoning that there was not sufficient evidence and that the teacher’s actions were “not severe.” Wu was released after 10 days of detention, claiming that he had only touched Li in the process of giving her a “physical check-up.”
After that, Li stopped her pursuit of justice. She suffered from depression and from PTSD. She had twice tried to kill herself by swallowing pills before finally ending her life last Wednesday.
Li’s tragic story calls to mind a similar one that happened two decades ago in Beijing when a 21-year-old student at Peking University named Gao Yan took her own life after being sexually harassed and raped by her professor. Gao’s suicide became national news earlier this year after a friend and classmate published the details online, asking for an investigation to be reopened into the professor.
Meanwhile, this is not the first time that a crowd of onlookers has been accused of encouraging a suicidal woman to jump. Back in 2015, a group assembled on the street below a Shenyang high-rise where a half-naked woman was considering leaping from a 10th-floor window. “Jump quickly! I’m so tired of waiting,” one of them urged while whistling.
The year before, an indebted woman who’d climbed to the top of a building in Shaanxi province and threatened to jump to her death was prodded on by a group of school kids who stood below yelling “Hurry up and jump for us!”
– Do not leave the person alone
– Remove any sharp objects, alcohol, drugs or firearms that could be used in a suicide attempt
– Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional
– Call the following hotlines for help: Lifeline Shanghai: 021-6279-8990 (English speakers; 10am – 10pm daily); HopeLine: 4001619995 (Chinese speakers; 24/7 toll-free access)