YANG Yuanyuan, a 30-year-old postgraduate at Shanghai Maritime University, hanged herself in her bathroom on November 25. She told her mother that knowledge cannot change destiny on the day before she committed suicide.
Recent years have seen an increasing number of suicides committed by Chinese university students, in particular among postgraduates and doctors. In Shanghai city 2008, there were 23 college student suicide cases, resulted in 19 deaths. In Guangdong 2008, there were 26 suicide cases, resulted in 21 deaths. What are the reasons behind all these suicide cases? Yang's case may shed some lights on the problem faced by our social elites.
According to report from 163.com, Yang came from a single parent family. She and her brother was brought up by her mother and they worked hard to climb up the social ladder through education – Yang was pursuing her Master’s degree in Shanghai and her brother is pursuing his Doctor’s at Peking University. Ever since Yang's mother had been laid off from the factory, she stayed with her daughter in the dormitory in the Wuhan University where she had her undergraduate study. She worked for two years to payback all the debts before she decided to continue her post-graduate study in Shanghai. With little saving, she tried to apply for an extra bed for her mother in the school dormitory, but they were insulted for their rural identity. The warden even refused Yang's mother from entering the dormitory.
Yang's death has received a lot of echoes from the Internet as it has become more and more difficult for people with high education achievement to attain the social status that they struggle for. The magic of university diploma is vanishing. Blogger Hailing, who is sympathetic to Yang, muses about the asymmetry between education achievement and salary in Chinese society in her article who should bear the responsibility for poor postgraduate Yang Yuanyuan’s death?:
Many bloggers condemns the lack of compassion in the society. In response to the news, netizen (123.232.*.*) points out that:
It is quite obvious that people with high education are not socially as marginal as the rural migrant workers or peasants. It begs the question on why educated people are psychologically so fragile? REN Haiyong reckoned the tragedy reflected on the defected school and family education. In his blog article, “The three missing affections”:
我认为，理解杨元元的绝望心理，应当首先懂得人的幸福感的三大来源，也就是“三情”，即：亲情、友情和爱情……我们的学校教育和家庭教育一直以来都有一个很大的缺陷，就是漠视人正常的感情需求，甚至把孩子们的读书求知和他们的情感需要对立起来，偏执地认为好孩子应 该一门心思读书，不能考虑情更不能考虑性。请教师们和家长们都能将心比心地、设身处地地为学生们、为孩子们想一想。尤其要 关怀女孩子，因为社会对女孩子更有一层情感压抑的要求，并把压抑的效果与道德品质的高低联系起来；好象一个女孩子只知道读书，对男孩子完全不感兴趣才是好 学生、好孩子。学习成绩越好的女生，在学校和家庭这样“纯洁”的要求下，就会更多地克制自己的情欲和性欲，也就会更多地压抑自己的正常情感需求。然而，人 的天性是无法改变的，人的忍耐也是有限度的，崩得太紧的弦，早晚是要断的。