Chinese student jumps to death after blowing tuition on shopping

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 July, 2013, 12:15pm
UPDATED : Monday, 01 July, 2013, 12:59pm

A university student committed suicide in Hebei province last month after she blew two years worth of tuition fees on a massive internet shopping spree.

Chang Yanan, 20, a third-year student at the China University of Geosciences’ Great Wall College in Baoding city, jumped from the window of her 13th-floor dorm room and died on impact on June 18.

Chang had reportedly spent more than 30,000 yuan (HK$38,000) on clothes, cosmetics and skin care products – most of which came from the annual 11,500 yuan tuition from her parents, the China Youth Daily reported.

Friends had often asked her if her online shopping habits would affect her ability to pay her school fees. Each time she would only answer: “It’s enough”, the paper said.

Flatmates also recalled helping Chang rearrange the cosmetics table in her dorm, which had enough masks, creams, body lotions and other skin care products – each priced at hundreds of yuan each – to fit in a “fully loaded suitcase”, the newspaper said.

Chang’s parents, from Xinjiang, were left baffled and suspicious each time they asked her where the money was going after receiving several notices from the school regarding outstanding tuition fees. They worried she might have fallen victim to a scam or had been cheated by a boy.

According to Chang’s father, Chang Shuzeng, she had once lied about losing her ATM card and had even told them 20,000 yuan was stolen from her account.

Her mother, Xu Qingfang, said she had last spoken to her daughter in a brief six-minute phone conversation on June 17. “We argued about the school fees but in the end, I said ‘just don’t lie to mother and tell the truth, I will believe you’,” a heartbroken Xu recalled.

In a "suicide note” left on an iPod Touch, Chang said: “This is not the fault of anyone and there is no need to feel regret. I was in pursuit of a different sort of lifestyle…All these problems are self-created and self-inflicted.”

Chang’s funeral procession took place in Hebei on Thursday afternoon, according to the newspaper. She was cremated along with part of her skincare products.