Over 5,000 freshmen entering the City College of Dongguan University of Technology were asked to sign “suicide waivers” before starting classes. The university in southern China drafted the documents so that the school wouldn’t be targeted for legal action if a student did decide to take his or her life.
Media reports state that the contract is the result of an incident involving a male student who stabbed a female classmate on campus after the woman refused to date him. Parents of incoming freshman say the suicide waiver is the school’s attempt to avoid fault if a suicide were to take place.
“I think this kind of agreement is irresponsible and unfair, and I doubt it’s going to have any effect on student behavior,” a woman who identified herself as Ms. Li told Time magazine. “The school should provide counseling services and other help for students, instead of trying to absolve themselves of responsibility even before anything has happened.”
A representative from the college said the agreement has nothing to do with the stabbing and is simply a “warm reminder” of the university’s “dormitory code of conduct.” The waiver, dubbed the “student management and self-discipline agreement,” also covers self-inflicted injuries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is overall the fifth leading cause of death in China. Between 1995 and 1999, around 287,000 Chinese citizens died each year as a result of suicide. Suicide is the leading cause of death among Chinese citizens aged 15 to 34 years old.
The education system is China is what some consider the largest and most intricate in the world. A compulsory education law signed by the Chinese government back in 1986 makes nine years of education mandatory for all children in the country. The Ministry of Education estimates that 99.7 percent of the population has completed this nine-year basic education curriculum.