Death of Chinese high schooler ruled as suicide, leaving family skeptical and questions unanswered

Death of Chinese high schooler ruled as suicide, leaving family skeptical and questions unanswered thumbnail

Lin’s mother is not the only person who has shared this sentiment. On Weibo, there were a vast number of commenters who were not vexed in stating their suspicions about the circumstances surrounding Lin’s death and criticizing the school for its mishandling of the matter, particularly the fact that it waited nearly two hours to notify Lin’s parents after his supposed suicide. 

Amid growing demands to see the full surveillance footage and calls for justice, the education bureau of Chengdu’s Chenghua District issued a statement (in Chinese) today, saying that investigators had ruled out the possibility of foul play and had landed on the conclusion that Lin took his own life because of “personal matters.” It also noted that the investigation team found no evidence of bullying, corporal punishment, or teacher misconduct at the school.

But while the bureau said that Lin’s family had no objection to the verdict, the statement was swiftly criticized by Lin’s mother, who wrote (in Chinese) on Weibo that she believed the results were “hastily declared” and that she would continue to demand answers. “I need to meet my son’s teacher. I need to see the surveillance footage in its entirety!” she wrote.

Elsewhere online, unsubstantiated rumors were rampant. There were many internet users who were skeptical about the idea of Lin committing suicide and thought there might be more to the story. Some speculated that a teacher pushed Lin off a building because his own child lost to Lin when competing for opportunities to study abroad. Others suspected that Lin killed himself after an argument with his girlfriend at school.

There are legitimate reasons for Chinese parents to be skeptical when it comes to their children who die at school. In some cases, the skepticism stems from the lack of transparency these families are given when working with local police departments. There’s also a culture among Chinese schools to cover up scandals to avoid accountability and protect reputations. Last year, a mother in Jiangsu Province had a similar experience to that of Lin’s family after her son jumped to his death from a building on his college campus. When confronted with questions about why it did not inform the mother until four hours after the incident and then confined her in a hotel room until the next day, the university defended its practice (in Chinese) by saying that it was preventing the devastated mother from having a mental breakdown.

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