A 19-year-old freshmen at Tianjin Normal University who had been diagnosed with the hepatitis B virus took her own life on April 10 after she’d allegedly been ostracized by her peers.
Wu Xinyi, an elementary education student from Fujian, tested positive for the hepatitis B virus during a voluntary blood donation on December 6 last year. The student felt she had no choice but to live alone in a single room dorm, and according to her mother, other students often refused to be near her.
Although the virus can only be transmitted by exposure to infectious blood or through sexual contact, Wu’s former roommates went out of their way to avoid touching her and even refused to place belongings near hers, according to Wu’s mother, Chen Xiaoling.
One of Wu’s friends, Gao Chao, said that she and Wu had attempted to inform other students about HBV and assure them that they had no reason to be afraid. One student had replied to Wu via text message: “We all know it, but we are still afraid of the virus.”
Wu didn’t participate in the final exam last year and left for her hometown to take a break. Before the new semester began, Wu was ordered by the university to provide a certificate stating that the “HBV carrier would not affect the school”.
Lin Biding, the director Wu’s hospital, told the student’s mother that no such measures were necessary. Back in 2007 and again in 2010, the Ministry of Health published rules ensuring that no HBV carrier would be denied work or schooling.
Ma Qiang, deputy party chief of the university, told Wu that she could suspend schooling for half a year and enroll with the incoming students when the new school year began.
She instead offered to move into a single room so that she could continue her schooling. In doing so, she was required to pen a statement saying that she would be responsible for all physical and mental outcomes of choosing to live at the school as an HBV carrier. Wu did it and moved in by herself on March 7.
Wu was found dead on her bed on April 10 after she’d reportedly burned charcoal in her room and sealed off the doors and window. A student surnamed Li was the first person to discover Wu’s death after she was asked to visit the student when she failed to show up to class.
Before she committed suicide, she left a note, reading, “She Tiesheng (a Chinese novelist) once said that there is no need for us to rush to die. I completely agree, but my life is just too long for me to see its ending. At this moment, I’m more eager to jump away from this corrupted world. I can’t help myself. Please spare me.”
– 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)
By Lucy Liu
[Images via The Beijing News]