Chinese policeman saves suicidal schoolboy who wanted to ‘Never Grow Old’

Teenager pulled from open window had left note asking for lyrics of gospel song to be carved on his headstone

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 January, 2018, 3:18pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 January, 2018, 6:47pm

A police officer in eastern China pulled a teenager from an 18th storey window ledge on Sunday after fearing the boy was about to jump, state media reported.

Fu Guoping, deputy director of police in Yiwu, Zhejiang province, said he and his colleagues responded to a call from a friend of the youngster’s who claimed the boy had posted messages on social media saying he was at home and planning to kill himself, China News Service reported on Wednesday.

When the officers arrived at his flat they found the boy, identified only by his nickname Xiaoxin, sitting on the window sill with his legs dangling outside.

“We tried to communicate with the boy, but he just glanced over at us and refused to speak,” police officer Tao Yiqun was quoted as saying.

Soon after the police arrived, Xiaoxin’s mother returned to the flat. As the boy turned to look at her, Fu saw his opportunity, and grabbed the boy’s arm and pulled him back inside he room.

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Police later found a note written by Xiaoxin, that read: “I am sorry. I hope you can carve the lyrics of the English song Never Grow Old on my tombstone. And that’s it.”

He was probably referring to an American gospel song, officially titled Where We’ll Never Grow Old, written by James Moore in 1914 and recorded by many artists, including Aretha Franklin and Johnny Cash.

Xiaoxin’s mother was quoted as saying that her son, whose age was not given, had complained of being under pressure at school and had been depressed after performing badly in a test.

She said also that she and her husband had been busy at work and as a result had perhaps not spent enough time with their son.

Pushy parents, unreasonable homework demands and a super-competitive market for university places have all been blamed for the high levels of childhood suicide in China. And it seems the problem is not restricted to teenagers.

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In a report last year, the official China Daily cited figures from the National Health and Family Planning Commission saying that about 500 middle and primary school pupils commit suicide every year as a result of pressure from school.

In a separate incident reported by news portal Thepaper.cn on Wednesday, two eight-year-olds ran away from home after failing to complete a homework assignment.

The youngsters, one of whom said they were “feeling stressed” because of the amount of work they had to do, were found hiding in a haystack after a 10-hour search.