Content Warning: This article discusses disturbing events including suicide and cyberbullying.
A 19-year-old student named Li stood above a ledge at a department store in the Chinese city of Qinyang, making clear her intention to take her own life. Instead of trying to defuse the situation, seek help, or otherwise prevent the tragedy, a truly heinous crowd of spectators gathered to jeer and mock her final moments. Many even livestreamed the event over video sharing app Kuaishou.
Qinyang’s geotag page was quickly flooded with posts making fun of Li Yi-yi and urging her to go through with killing herself. Graphic videos and photos of Li’s deadly fall and its aftermath were also shared relentlessly. Out of respect for the victim and her family, we are choosing not to share any of the photos or videos…. The horrific comments speak for themselves.
“If you want to jump, hurry up. You’re holding up the traffic.”
“Just jump, what are you sitting there waiting for?”
“Still not jumping, it’s been so many hours.”
Other images and audio recorded also appear to show people cheering and clapping. For several hours Li hesitated before jumping, and instead of comforting her or trying to talk her down, she was encouraged to go through it by a sick and cruel audience.
The disturbing event has since sparked a national conversation on livestreaming, mental health, and the desensitization of violence.
One viral post on Weibo, which has been shared over 34,000 times, calls out every single bystander and bully as a murderer..
What is wrong with this society? A girl jumps off the building, and the onlookers are laughing and encouraging her to do it, and other people live stream it on Kuaishou. Humanity is so ugly. The murderer is still at large, and these ‘murderers’ whose consciences have been eating by dogs. Rest in peace.
Others are calling for Kuaishou to change several of its policies or even be shut down.
Several of those involved have since been arrested by police for the crime of “disrespect towards life.” Others have closed or made their social media accounts private, after realizing that cyberbullying a depression victim in real time is not some you want people to remember you for.