China's Suicide Rate Among the Highest in the World


September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. Timely, since our latest podcast is “The Paradox of Suicide.” It focuses on the specter of suicide and how, strangely, it tends to be more prevalent in rich societies than in poor ones.

One country not mentioned in the podcast is China, where suicide is definitely a cultural problem. Yesterday, China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced that China’s official suicide rate is among the highest in the world. It’s so high, that someone tries to kill themselves every two minutes. Roughly 287,000 people commit suicide each year, out of a population of 1.3 billion. From the AFP:

The disease control centre said suicide is the biggest killer among Chinese aged 15 to 34.

Extreme pressure to perform well at school and to find employment were the main reasons behind the high rate of suicide among China’s youths, media said.

The suicide rate in rural areas is three times higher than in urban centres and accounts for 75 percent of China’s suicide total, it said.

According to the Guangzhou Daily, the number of suicides in China has risen sharply during the reform and open period, when the nation’s economy has boomed.

A state-run media outlet reports that China’s suicides are up 60 percent in the past 50 years. When Stephen Dubner was in China earlier this year, he saw this compelling story in China Daily about a boy who was on the brink of killing himself.


Could you not put a PLAY link on each page? I downloaded something called juice which turned out to be a zip extractor and god knows where the juice app went!! Faffing around trying to find some way to play this stuff,
Merry christmas btw

A. Lee

You forgot to mention that China has the highest rate of female suicides in the world. Women are treated so badly and regarded as so inferior that women have been taking their lives in record numbers. Oh well, female infanticide, female suicide... just another day for China. Maybe when all the women die out somebody will say "hey, I think something is wrong here!"

Seamus McGunness

Hey Craig
Just read your comments and find interesting. I have recently completed a PhD in suicide studies.I am a artist and have been invited to take part in a large international exhibition to be held in Hangzhou 2013 see .I am very interested in looking closely at suicide in contemporay china and to attempt to visualize this to force government change. U still living in China and if so can I communicate with you. no pressure just if it suits you.
Dr Seamus McGuinness

Frank R

IMO this is an example of an "Asian" cultural Milieu.Women are seen as inferior to men, hence the higher death rate.This idea is moronic in and of itself. I've heard of this social conditioning in japan.The Japanese are overly concerned with saving "face".This sounds like the exact same thing.These weirdos would commit 'harikari' to save face.Same lunatic idiocy different country. Dont want to sound rude BUT HEY asian people maybe its time to EVOLVE beyond this lemming like thinking.In america its called keeping up with the Jones's. Its just as stupid and infantile here.And people here mostly don't whack themselves out over the opinion of their neighbors.