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Senior Official Calls for Less Pressure on Professors
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A senior official has said China's university professors are under too much pressure. These comments were made following the recent suicide of a female professor, aged 45, in Guangzhou.


Ouyang Jie, who was working at Sun Yat-sen University in the capital of southern China's Guangdong Province, threw herself off the fifth floor of a staff building last month.


One of her colleagues said Ouyang was on medication for depression after going through a divorce more than ten years ago and her only son was sent to live with her ex-husband in Changsha, capital of Hunan Province.


"She was competitive and capable and was also eager to outdo others. It seemed she was overloaded with work and putting herself under so much pressure," said another colleague.


Liu Jixian, a member of the Guangdong Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference said that the assessment standards for the performance of university professors were unreasonable.


He said, "It's improper to make regulations on how many courses and thesis a professor should finish within a year. Most professors can't bear the double strain of teaching and scientific research."


Approximately 250,000 Chinese take their own lives each year. This makes suicide one of the major causes of death among the country's people, said Michael Philips, China representative of the International Association for Suicide Prevention and a consultant with the Mental Health Department of the World Health Organization.


(Xinhua News Agency February 6, 2007)

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