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March 3, 2011

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Schoolgirl suicides shock city

THE suicides of two Shanghai schoolgirls in recent weeks have raised concerns about the pressures teenagers face.

Yesterday, police reported that the body of a high school student who went missing last month was later found in a city river.

Shen Yiwen, 17, left a suicide note for her parents at their Qingpu District home on February 11. Her body was found on February 25 in Minhang District, officers said.

And on Tuesday morning, a teenage girl jumped to her death from a 20-story high-rise in Shanghai Greentown in the Pudong New Area after receiving a telling-off at school.

Shen came from a poor family. Her father suffers from long-term illness and cannot work while her mother works six days a week to make ends meet.

Shen's father needs more than 100,000 (US$15,214) yuan for medical treatment and her mother supports the family with her monthly salary between 2,000 and 3, 000 yuan, said Chen Xiaoyan, Shen's aunt.

Chen suggested that the hardships became too much for the young student. "The burden was too heavy for a girl of her age," said Chen.

In her suicide note, Shen talked about her depression over her situation.

She was a good student, though a little introverted, said her fellow students and teachers. Shen had not confided in them about her family hardships.

Shen's body has been cremated, said the family.

Chen said Shen's mother has stayed at home accompanied by family members since the funeral at the weekend.

Cannot accept

"The family just can not accept what has happened," said Chen.

Teachers and students also visited the family and gave some donations, she said.

Chen Zhiyuan, a psychologist, said families concerned about their children should, with their child, talk to school staff. Not many students would come to talk about their problems on their own, said Chen Zhiyuan.

Eight city students killed themselves last year, two more than 2009, officials said.


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