Female suicide in China

Pretty shocking, although I’ve heard it all before.

In China, one woman kills herself every four minutes. According to World Health Organisation statistics, China is the only country in the world where more women commit suicide than men.

Every year, 1.5 million women attempt to take their own lives, and a further 150,000 succeed in doing so. The problem is worse in rural areas, where the suicide rate is three times higher than in the cities. Xu Rong, head of the Suicide Prevention Project at the Beijing Cultural Development Centre for Rural Women, says one of the reasons is the ready availability of poisons in agricultural areas.

“It’s all too easy to get hold of pesticides,” she says. “Some women commit suicide impulsively. A husband and wife may have a bitter fight. When it’s over, the woman just grabs some poison and drinks it.”

…Xie Lihua, editor of China’s foremost women’s magazine, agrees that traditional values are a problem.

“If a woman goes to live with her husband’s family and they treat her well, or if she’s found someone who loves and respects her, she’ll be all right. If not, things will be very difficult for her. “This is because there’s a saying among men that goes: ‘marrying a woman is like buying a horse: I can ride you and beat you whenever I like’.”

Obviously there is a lot of history here. Anyone who’s read Chinese history books (or Wild Swans) knows this goes back ages and ages. The bottom line is that to many in the country, women are still seen as an ornament, something to display in the living room when it’s beautiful, and something to abuse and discard as it loses its lustre. They may not bind their feet anymore, but many women, especially in the countryside, still endure what amounts to nothing less than torture.

Via this superb discussion site.

The Discussion: 5 Comments

I recommend “The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices” by former radio talk show host Xinran. The book lives up to its title by letting Chinese women of various walks of life speak to the outside world. The last chapter, revealing the harsh lives of very poor women in western China, who re-use rough leaves as menstrual pads and whose daughters must spend all day inside because there is only enough money for one set of clothes, made me appreciate all that I have.

June 20, 2006 @ 11:26 am | Comment

Yes, that is a great book. There’s also a really cool bit in the prologue, where Xinran talks about fighting off a guy that tried to rob her and take the bag that had her manuscript in. Most people would have given it up, but she instinctively held on because it had meant so much to her to be able to tell the stories of these women.

She was quite lucky though that the street she was walking down was busy enough that some other pedestrians saw what was going on and came to help.

June 20, 2006 @ 5:29 pm | Comment

can you show me the source of your data, liar?
Pitifully I wish this website is not a place to devilized China but I am wrong.

June 21, 2006 @ 10:48 pm | Comment

Obviously MR “Mr. Right”, cant read so here is the link again, since you missed it, that was provided as the source. Anyone that calls another a liar like that has got to be missing a few screws. Back up your accusations MR.


June 21, 2006 @ 11:38 pm | Comment

On the other hand, Chinese women are pretty equal with men in their jobs. In China, there isn’t the kind of discrimination we see in Occident, jobs that are not open to women, or higher pay for men. And there are too much guys who think girls just have to be pretty in Occident too !

June 22, 2006 @ 2:28 am | Comment

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