Liu Xuezhou Chinese teen commits suicide after being abandoned twice by birth parents. Chinese society examined.
A Chinese teen sold as an infant has killed himself after a social media search reunited him with his birth parents, only for the parents to abandon their son once again, according to reports.
Prior to taking his life, the teen claimed in a lengthy suicide note on Weibo — China’s version of Twitter — that he had been ‘abandoned twice’ by his biological mother and father.
The 17-year-old’s story first came to national attention after he posted a video asking for help finding his biological family. In the video, Liu explained how according to his adoptive family, he had been sold him as a baby for $4,200, most of which went to a middleman.
The teen said he spent most of his life being passed around among his adoptive relatives after a home explosion when he was 4 years old killed his new parents.
Biological mother wanted her ‘quiet life’ back
Upon the video going viral, authorities encouraged Liu to use a DNA database created to curb child trafficking and reunite families. In turn the teen who had been working as a teacher was able to re-connect with his biological parents, who in the interim had divorced and remarried.
The reunion was amicable at first, but his relationship with his birth parents reportedly became strained over claims that he had been sold, not given away.
Liu then asked the parents whether he could live with them or rent him his own place to live, which they reportedly could not afford.
His mother, identified solely by her surname, Zhang, said she ultimately cut him off because she wanted her ‘quiet life’ back after the attention from the reunion.
‘Parents are also human, and I felt scared,’ Zhang reportedly told the Beijing News, adding she had been harassed and threatened after her son released a recording of one of their phone calls.
News of the mother cutting him off led to Liu threatening to sue his parents for abandonment, saying in a Weibo post that he would ‘see them in court’.
In his 10,000-word suicide note, Liu took exception with social media commentators who had accused him of being selfish after reconnecting with his parents and asking them for financial support, the Beijing News reported.
Cyberbullying and mental health examined
‘Thanks to all those who cared for me and sorry that I failed you,’ Liu wrote. ‘Wish there were fewer dark and malicious people in this world.’
The teen also revealed that he was bullied and molested in school.
The post triggered frantic comments urging the teen not to take his own life, and calls for those in the nearby vicinity to find him. But to no avail.
Liu, whose body was discovered at a beach in the southern Chinese island province of Hainan, was found by people who started looking for him after reading his concerning social media posts.
Liu’s death was confirmed by Chinese authorities, setting off a national conversation on cyberbullying and the mental health of children, especially those who have been abandoned. A hashtag of his name had been viewed 2.4 billion times on Weibo as of late Tuesday, the Washington Post reported.
Liu’s Weibo page has since been flooded with sympathetic comments, with many expressing anger towards the cyberbullies.
Reality for the underclasses
‘The cyberbullying he endured was too much to bear for an adult, let alone a child,’ one commented according to the BBC.
Others said they hoped he would find a good family ‘in his next life’.
‘I hope in your next life you find parents who protect you, brothers and sisters who love you and live a life without worries.’
His case ‘reflected reality for the underclasses,’ according to a social commentary blog called Slave Society on WeChat.
‘It began from child trafficking to losing his guardians, to school bullying, to molestation, to cyberbullying to suicide,’ the post read. ‘It reflects how society treated this child over 15 years [and there were] gaping holes in legal and social support structures.’