Patterico's Pontifications


You Are So Selfish. Now Get Out of My Way.

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 2:54 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The AP reports this story about Chen Fuchao, a Chinese man deeply in debt who climbed atop a Guangzhou bridge contemplating suicide. Authorities blocked off traffic for several hours as they attempted to talk Chen down. Apparently that didn’t sit well with fellow traveler Lai Jiansheng, who approached Chen, shook hands with him and then pushed him off the bridge:

“The passer-by, 66-year-old Lai Jiansheng, had been fed up with what he called Chen’s “selfish activity,” Xinhua said. Traffic around the Haizhu bridge in the city of Guangzhou had been backed up for five hours and police had cordoned off the area.

“I pushed him off because jumpers like Chen are very selfish. Their action violates a lot of public interest,” Lai was quoted as saying by [official News Agency] Xinhua. “They do not really dare to kill themselves. Instead, they just want to raise the relevant government authorities’ attention to their appeals.”

Chen survived because he fell onto a partially inflated emergency air cushion. Meanwhile, Lai had reportedly “been on medication for ‘a mental illness’ for decades and had been on his way to a hospital for his pills.”


24 Responses to “You Are So Selfish. Now Get Out of My Way.”

  1. Lai is my new hero…… good for him.

    redc1c4 (9c4f4a)

  2. I saw one of these onthe news a couple years ago, someone threatening to jump from a 4 or 5 story building. Once the Chinese cops got their air bag in place they used fire hoses to knock him off the building. Seems like a much better system than negotiation.

    Soronel Haetir (a3f11b)

  3. Obviously the Chinese still have a lot to learn about the free market. You don’t just push people off of bridges.

    You sell tickets first.

    Apogee (e2dc9b)

  4. I wonder if Lai, ironically, saved a few lives by taking the attention and perverse glory out of suicide and replacing it with contempt, thereby reducing the risk of copycats.

    ras (20bd5b)

  5. A deal is a deal. They shook on it and then Lai fulfilled his end of the contract by shoving Chen overboard.
    I’d guess they should just ship Lai his meds from now on though instead of having him roam around under medicated

    SteveG (c99c5c)

  6. As Frank Zappa once opined – “There’s nothing wose than a suicide chump”.

    Horatio (e2e328)

  7. …Didn’t something like this happen on an episode of House?

    Foxfier (db0f51)

  8. On Thursday, he made his way to the Haizhu bridge, where 11 other people have tried to take their lives since April.

    Do more people in China lead lives of quiet desperation than elsewhere? This is an extraordinarily high number suicide attempts in a single location.

    Dana (aedf1d)

  9. America’s suicide bridges, but I agree 11 in one month is a lot for one location.

    DRJ (2901e6)

  10. It would be interesting to see if any American bridges have the same high volume of attempts in a month and a half’s time.

    Dana (aedf1d)

  11. In China, 11 people is not a lot.

    nk (a1896a)

  12. I thought of that too, nk, but still it seems a high number for such a short period of time.

    Dana (aedf1d)

  13. That long ugly bridge in San Diego seems to have a suicide attempt basically every single time I am in that town. I have the water taxi on my speed dial as a result.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  14. So I stop at the local Polish bar for a drink and the TV is showing a guy on a rooftop threatening to jump. I turn to the Polish guy next to me and say, “I bet fifty dollars that he jumps”. He says, “I’ll take that bet”. Sure enough, the guy jumps. The Polish guy tries to hand me the $50.00 but I say, “I can’t take this, I had already seen the story on the five o’clock news”. He says, “Take it. I saw the same thing at five o’clock, too. I just didn’t think that he would be stupid enough to do it again at six o’clock.”

    nk (a1896a)

  15. Dana – I don’t think NY tracks Brooklyn Bridge suicide attempts, but I believe the number is pretty significant. A firm I was working for in the 1980s had it’s headquarters with views looking at the bridge and it was a pretty frequent occurrence when I was in town to have a potential jumper up there. Cynical Wall Street types that my fellow employees were, a lot of money changed hands on various wagers related to the outcome. Those same assholes were among Obama’s biggest contributors. Heh!

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  16. How can someone so rational as Mr Lai be on medication? I guess just because he’s mentally ill (according to “the government”) doesn’t mean he lacks common sense and is all business. The People’s Republic of San Francisco is spending millions of dollars to put a net on the Golden Gate to “catch” people. They should just import Mr Lai and pay him minimum wage to walk back and forth and play “Bridge Dr Kevorkian”.

    Marty Farty (73baad)

  17. Has anyone checked the Chinese calendar? Maybe it’s their leap year. Seriously though, I’ve read some reports on financial sites that say the unemployment over there is a huge problem in some industries. Many of those without jobs have no safety nets evidently, and this rash of jumpers might be a reflection of those who have despaired over debts and a dim hope for work. And many of those out of work came to the coastal industrial cities for the very reason there was nothing for them in the rural regions from whence they came.

    allan (febdc3)

  18. I heard this story on the radio today and then saw it on a couple of on-line news sources and I thought to myself: what a strange story.

    Of course the news services of China are tightly controlled. Nothing goes out except what they want the rest of the world to hear. So, why this one?

    You have a guy on a bridge, obviously with mental problems. Then you have guy who pushed him off the bridge, with alleged mental problems. And the point is?

    At least with the Soviets, you could usually figure these things out.

    China, though, is really strange to this Westerner.

    Ag80 (7dd7b7)

  19. ras at #4 makes what I feel is a fair point.

    There have been a great many copycat suicides documented. Some are a social group, like the ones last year in Bridgend, South Wales. Others, though, re-enact earlier ones, like the ones in Vienna, Austria between 1984 and 1987, which were fueled by journalist coverage. Once the coverage ended, the suicides dropped off, even the ones by other means. I seem to recall a series of carbon monoxide garage suicides, also.

    Anyway, by calling it “selfish” and showing contempt, the pusher may have saved many lives.

    jim2 (3f410b)

  20. #4: “I wonder if Lai, ironically, saved a few lives”

    He saved perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives.

    hip (9611e3)

  21. It *is* selfish to hold up traffic for several hours while dithering about whether to kill yourself. I remember an incident from about ten years ago in Southern California where some nut disgruntled about his HMO blocked a junction ramp between two major freeways–backing up traffic for miles–and sat for hours before first dousing himself with gasoline and torching himself, then blowing out his brains with a shotgun on live TV. I had and still have no sympathy for him–dragging all those other people into his problems was a despicably selfish act, and if there’s an afterlife he deserved a good stretch in purgatory for it.

    M. Scott Eiland (5ccff0)

  22. …Lai had reportedly “been on medication for ‘a mental illness’ for decades and had been on his way to a hospital for his pills.”

    Couldn’t this describe a good percentage of the Democrat party? Except they don’t take their pills.

    Peg C. (48175e)

  23. Being weak doesn’t require one to be an inconsiderate jerk–and it doesn’t make one a fascist to say so.

    M. Scott Eiland (5ccff0)

  24. Or a good fortune cookie motto…

    Eric Blair (355e34)

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