Chinese University Asks Students to Sign ‘Suicide Waivers’

A university in southern China asked students entering its freshman class to sign a document absolving the school of responsibility should the student commit suicide — a macabre sign, say some, of the growing pressures of Chinese society

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REUTERS / REUTERS

A high school student takes a nap on a desk during his lunch break in a classroom in the Chinese city of Hefei, Anhui province, on June 2, 2012

For college freshmen anywhere, paperwork is an inevitable drag on the exciting first few days of college life. Spare a thought, though, for the 5,000 freshmen at the City College of Dongguan University of Technology in China’s coastal Guangdong province who were required to sign an agreement absolving the school of responsibility if the students were to commit suicide.

School officials told Chinese media that the agreement serves merely as a “warm reminder” of long-standing school policy for the new intake of students. But outraged parents and online commentators argue that the process heaps yet more pressure on already overstressed students. “I think this kind of agreement is irresponsible and unfair, and I doubt it’s going to have any effect on student behavior,” says Ms. Li, whose son just started his first year at college and who declines to be identified with her full name. “The school should provide counseling services and other help for students, instead of trying to absolve themselves of responsibility even before anything has happened.”

Suicide rates among college students have actually remained fairly stable among college students, hovering close to one or two per 100,000 people in recent years — a rate well below the national average. While there is no official figure for suicides on a national level, a research project conducted by the Ministry of Health in 2010 found the suicide rate in larger urban areas was 6.41 per 100,000 people and in rural areas, it was 10.01 per 100,000. However, with the threat of litigation rising as more Chinese pursue legal action to redress grievances and stress levels soaring among students, the college in Dongguan appears to have decided it needed some insurance.

Education has long been seen in China as the only path to success, a legacy of the country’s Confucian heritage. But a massive increase in the numbers of students taking university courses coupled with a sharp economic slowdown has meant that, for many, a degree is not the golden ticket it once seemed to be. Of the class of 2013, with some 7 million graduates across the country, just 35% had found a job at the time of graduation — a dramatic fall of 12% year on year.

With stress levels for students on the rise and postgraduation opportunities harder to find, some are starting to doubt the value of education as an investment.

This month on the popular microblogging platform Sina Weibo, one of the most discussed topics concerned a father who refused to pay his daughter’s college fees. The father said he would rather use the money to invest in a small business for his daughter. Investing in a college education, he said, would be “like throwing the money away.”

17 comments
Track丶
Track丶

You might think this is ridiculous.Everything  has two sides.Maybe it can alert people to the attention of the education.In addition, welcome into the pit.


fatesn1230
fatesn1230

It‘s my first time to know ‘Suicide Waivers’.To be honest,I think that college students should response for themselves.Because most of the college students are adults.If you don't treasure your own life,school can't do anything else.

Kidding
Kidding

It has many improper ways in some aspects.Recently, it asked students to give some extra money for the hot water without announcing and make students annoyed.

WTFCY
WTFCY

电费贵,饭菜贵,水费贵, 我一穷屌丝在城院,吃不起饭,洗不起澡,玩不起电脑,现在想自杀,他妈的学校还说不关它事。

donggguan
donggguan

对这个学校已经无力吐槽········应该上时代广场的大屏幕才对

YujieLiang
YujieLiang

I'm from this university,I can't imagine our school was publihed in the Time Magazine. 

nasireddin
nasireddin

大城院学子无处不在。Why don't you comment。ahah 

skeezy99
skeezy99

I do hope that they included a handy little pamphlet on exactly how to do it. After all, they already have a lot of stress, and may be too stressed to research this for themselves! Or maybe a teensy little zip lock bag with ONE cyanide pill inside?

Probably just having to stay outside in the fetid pollution would do the trick, only more slowly.

How rude!

StevenLynch
StevenLynch

Totally agree with the father.Education is just a money machine and waste of paper.When will societies get it?

I have so many pieces of paper and they have not been so beneficial in acquiring a job. Higher Education is a scam.

zalant
zalant

This story reminds me of the movie 'Heathers' for some reason.

PCA2
PCA2

The waiver wasn't meant to have an impact on the students, it's to protect the institution from greedy parents.

WJM980
WJM980

As China is still Communist country, can't the government simply absolve all schools of this?

zong
zong

I am almost 100% sure that the picture beside the article is a Chinese high school class picture, definitely not a Chinese university class picture!!! 

YujieLiang
YujieLiang

 Are you from the City College of Dongguan University of Technology in China’s coastal Guangdong province

IvanAJagerbomb
IvanAJagerbomb

@zong - gee, what gave it away Einstein?  The part that reads "a high school student"  !?!?!?