Tuesday, 02. September 2014
16. 05. 14. - 16:15
Life is cheap in China - and so is death.
People have become so accustomed to suicides from tall buildings in China that when a man threatened to kill himself from a skyscraper in the city of Hangzhou no-one bothered to call the police.
Instead a crowd that gathered taunted the depressed young man and took photos of him. They called out to him on his perch high up the building to turn this way and that so they could get better shots of him.
"It has become something of a circus for onlookers," said a police spokesman who turned up after the man had already given up and gone home.
"It becomes an event for them. They seem to forget that a human life hangs in the balance while they are busy enjoying the show."
Meng-Lee Fook, one of the eyewitnesses to the life-or-death drama, said: "People brought along ice creams and beer. They really enjoyed it. I got into an argument with one guy about how the spectacle sickened me, but he only said it was better than watching TV. I had no idea that no-one had called police.
"I empathised with the guy up there. I know that there have been ten suicides in recent months around and about by people jumping from tall buildings."
But the carefree attitude of the crowd on this particular occasion may have actually saved his life. He became so embarrassed at the catcalls and attention that he quietly moved away from his perch and climbed back into the building. He scuttled down a back staircase and off into a side street so no-one would see him.
A police spokesman added: "We only heard about it when we got a call asking if he'd survived after they had seen it on the internet. He was probably a young guy who had been dumped by his girlfriend. We are just happy that no-one got hurt and that he is still alive. The attitude of the crowd is not something we can do anything about."
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