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January 15, 2011

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Drowning top student killer

Drowning remained the main cause of death among Shanghai's elementary and secondary school students last year, but the number of suicides and murders rose.

A total of 79 students died in unnatural circumstances last year, 11 more than in 2009, according to the 2010 Primary and Secondary School Student Safety Report issued by the Shanghai Education Commission.

Drowning was the main cause of death, with 34 student victims. That compared to 27 the year before. Most accidents occurred when students were playing or bathing in rivers.

Four were killed in criminal cases, compared with one in 2009. Three died in knife fights with their peers while one was killed in a conflict with a tenant.

In one case, a 14-year-old boy was stabbed to death in a fight last September less than 200 meters from his school in the Pudong New Area.

Eight students killed themselves last year, two more than in 2009. Six took their own lives after family conflicts while two were attributed to love affairs or academic pressure.

Male students accounted for 82 percent of 2010's deaths, an increase of 23 percentage points over 2009.

Schools have been urged to ensure students are taught to have a respect for life.

"It's said that today's students are afraid of difficulties but are not afraid of death," said Tang Wei, president of Zhonghua Vocational School. "They are too fragile and don't give enough respect for life," he said.

Thirteen students were killed in traffic accidents last year.

The report also recorded 10 deaths from falls and 10 from other causes, including fires and electrocution.

The city had 1.46 million primary and secondary school students last year, 20,000 more than in 2009.


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