n the night of June 26th, a suicidal woman in her twenties climbed up to the rooftop of an 11-story residential building in the city of Nantong, Jiangsu province. Meanwhile, a crowd gathered 30 meters below, directing flashlights at the woman and urging her to jump to her death.
At around 7 pm that day, the emotionally distressed young woman was seen lingering around the edge of a rooftop terrace. Twenty firefighters and four fire engines were called to the scene to talk the woman down and prevent another tragedy. Fortunately, after three hours, the woman was brought down safely.
Despite the successful rescue, the actions of the passersby watching from the street below and from nearby buildings did not go unnoticed. On Weibo, the local fire department posted a message directed at those onlookers.
“Some people need others’ help to overcome adversity,” the post read. “Do not add fuel to the fire. Do not disrupt the rescue efforts of firefighters. Please show some respect for other people’s lives.”
According to The Paper, some of the onlookers had shined flashlights up at the rooftop, even after being told to stop by firefighters. “The sky was already dark and people couldn’t see clearly what was happening on the rooftop, so some flashed lights up at the girl,” said one witnessed surnamed Wang.
Meanwhile, some of the onlookers were also reported to have shouted, “If you are jumping, jump quickly!” as rescuers were trying to calm the woman down.
This incident came less than a week after onlookers encouraged a suicidal 19-year-old girl to jump from the eighth floor of a building in Qingyang, Gansu province. As they waited for hours for something to happen, some of those watching from the street below became impatient, shouting up at the young woman, “Jump quickly!” and “Why haven’t you jumped yet?”
Some of the onlookers also filmed videos of the suicidal teen, uploading them to social media with vile captions 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.” When the girl did finally hit the ground, some in the crowd began cheering and clapping.
The tragedy quickly became one of the biggest stories in China last week. The woman had apparently become severely depressed after being allegedly sexually assaulted by her teacher two years ago. That teacher has now been sacked from his post and banned from teaching for life.
Meanwhile, the local police announced that they had detained two of the hecklers, while six others who posted “abusive” content online were asked to turn themselves in.
Sadly, this was not the first incident of its kind to occur in China. Back in 2015, a group of people 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)