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  • Writer's pictureNadi Bangi

The suicide of Taiyuan: Despair and Cries for Help under the bridge suicide



Taiyuan, a city whose economy is carved out of coal, has recently been in the media spotlight due to a series of bridge jumps suicides. From May 10 to 22, there were at least 12 bridge jumping suicides attempts at multiple bridges in Taiyuan. These incidents are not only individual tragedies, but also concentrated outbreaks of social problems.

(Photo by Liu Yaduo, South Central Bridge of Taiyuan)

Despair under pressure

Behind the bridge jumping suicides incident in Taiyuan is the huge impact of economic pressure. According to the Ministry of Finance, China, Taiyuan's economic growth rate is at the bottom of the top 100 cities in the country. As the capital of Shanxi Province, Taiyuan used to be one of the important cities in the north, but with the fall of coal prices and the simplification of the industrial structure, Taiyuan's economic growth has encountered a bottleneck. In 2023, Taiyuan's total GDP will rank 53rd among the top 100 cities in the country, while the nominal growth rate in the first quarter of this year will be negative, and the actual growth rate will be at the bottom of the top 100 cities.

In addition to economic factors, the lack of a social support system is also an important reason for this series of incidents. In the face of financial pressures and life difficulties, many people may not find a way to seek help. Inadequate mental health services and inadequate social awareness of mental health issues prevent many people in distress from receiving timely help.

The bridges of Taiyuan, as the lifeblood of the city, have witnessed the ups and downs of too many lives. From May 10 to 22, there were at least 12 bridge jumping suicides attempts at multiple bridges in Taiyuan. These bridges, which were originally the bonds between people and hearts, have become symbols of despair. “I don't know what's wrong with this, we were the happiest city in China last year, and this May seems to have exploded for everyone. More and more people are no longer able to survive. ,” Ms. Zhao, a citizen, said.

Every time a bridge jumping suicides incident occurs, it is a wake-up call to the society. They are not only manifestations of individual behavior, but also reflection of social problems. Taiyuan's economic growth rate is at the bottom of the top 100 cities in the country, which reflects a deeper social pain point. Economic slowdowns, rising unemployment, and increased stress in life may all be factors that cannot be ignored in driving these tragedies.

(The government's response)

The government's response

In response to these successive bridge jumping suicides incidents, Taiyuan City responded that these were all personal acts. While this statement is technically true, it ignores deeper social issues. The health of a society is not only reflected in economic numbers, but also in the happiness and quality of life of its members. White, a law student at Shanxi University(in Taiyuan), initially refused to be interviewed because he could easily get caught up in China's public opinion control system. But when I assured him of anonymity, he was quick to give an interview. "Now that there are reports that 16 people have died, I am getting more and more scared when I hear the numbers that are updated every day. Living in this city, everyone is under a lot of pressure,” he said. At the same time, he believes that the government blocked the follow-up news of the incident to reduce the negative energy propaganda.

(Photo by Sing Tao Daily,Taiyuan officials sent a large number of bridge guards stationed on patrol to prevent people from jumping off the bridge.)

In order to prevent similar incidents from happening, Taiyuan City has begun to take measures. According to Taiyuan TV, Taiyuan City has installed anti-fall nets on some bridges and dispatched bridge guards to prevent more incidents of suicide. While these measures are positive, they only address the surface. In order to truly reduce the occurrence of such incidents, it is also necessary to fundamentally address economic and social problems.

(Photo by internet, To stop more suicides from jumping off bridges, Yingze Street in Taiyuan City has been renovated and installed a protective fence.)

Look for a way out

The bridge jumping suicides incident in Taiyuan serves as a warning that we should pay attention to human development while pursuing economic growth. We need to build a more inclusive and supportive society, one that can help people get through this. Only in this way can we prevent the recurrence of tragedy.

The bridge in Taiyuan should be a symbol of hope, not the end of despair. All sectors of society need to join forces to provide a bridge of hope and support for those who are on the verge of despair.

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