Everything seemed fine on the bright autumn morning at a quiet residential district in Shanghai.
But it was not for 12-year-old Xiao Fan (not his real name).
Dressed in his new school uniform, his parents waiting downstairs to accompany him to school, he decided to kill himself, which he did by jumping from a window six stories up.
The scene was horrific.
With blood everywhere, the screams of his sorrowful parents ripped apart the tranquillity of the morning.
His two grandparents were left paralyzed at the blood-inked spot for hours and refused to leave.
This was the fourth attempted suicide by a middle school student in Shanghai since the new semester began on September 1.
While the other three kids survived, Xiao Fan, unfortunately, did not.
His parents and teachers were left heartbroken.
He was just a very lovely and docile boy, good at his studies and friendly to everyone, local newspapers quoted his teachers and neighbors as saying.
The reason for Xiao Fan's death is still unknown.
Most attempted suicides are usually a result of something almost trivial, such as a child being scolded by a parent or teacher.
Yet those seemingly trivial annoyances might be destructive for teenagers who can never manage stresses as well as adults, Xu Weisu, an expert in teenage psychological matters at East China Normal University said.
The increasing pressure and worsening family ties have become the foremost reasons behind the many unwanted death, he said.
We have been long hearing of university students killing themselves, and now the huge pressure is moving on to adolescents, he said.
While performance of study has been the prevailing indicator to mark a good student or not under the exam-oriented promotion system, many kids who not good at study fail to win recognition from society, which could be a heavy blow for them at the every crucial stage of confidence building, Xu said.
In addition, failure to feel loved by their parents is also a significant reason, Xu said.
A survey by the Children and Youngsters Heath Research Center of Peking University in Beijing in 2005 showed that one in five students in the country have thought of killing themselves.
"The other day I talked with my boy about death and life, and to my surprise, he said death is nothing to fear as it only meant there was no longer blood," Wu Jin, a father from Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province, said.
Jiang Weimei, a psychologist from Shanghai, said the children's self-centeredness has led to the fact that they never sense how sorrowful their death would be to their parents.
In Shanghai, with the help of municipal education authorities, Xu's team, in collaboration with a Hong Kong young development foundation, is promoting a new mechanism that will help single out students who need psychological help through questionnaires.
(China Daily September 5, 2008)