CHINA: Blogging Community Reaches Out, But Too Late

Wang Shanshan, a senior student at Nanjing Technology College hanged herself in her dorm on March 17.  A frequent blogger on China’s popular Sina Weibo site, Shanshan left a suicide note on her blog that automatically uploaded 12 hours after her death.  It stated:  “I have depression, so I want to die. There’s no important reason, and you shouldn’t care about my leaving this world. Bye bye.” One of Shanshan’s professors said that the girl, though a little shy, always got along well with people around her and did well in school.  “Sometimes she even made jokes with her classmates, and nobody noticed that she had depression,”  By March 20th, more than 54,000 netizens had left messages on her micro blog attempting to help her.  Sina Weibo public relations officer Mao Taotao said the company called local police as soon as the post was found.   He also stated that “We always monitor micro blogs showing users’ suicide tendencies in an attempt to save their lives.”  Many of the people following her blog left comments, such as “Why not talk to me? You know that my cell phone is on 24 hours a day for you.”  Despite censorship, the Internet has created an opportunity for the development of support networks within China, allowing private citizens to sympathize with and even help others within their community.  Unfortunately, Shanshan did not live to benefit from the support given by her fellow bloggers.

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China Daily

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