Mingming (not his real name), a 16-year-old student in Guangyuan, Sichuan, had a plan. He was fond of League of Legends, and after school let out for the Qingming vacation on April 4, Mingming headed straight to a local internet cafe to log in.
(It’s worth pointing out here that minors are not meant to be allowed in internet cafes, and the one Mingming went to even had a sign on the door stating that customers under 18 would not be permitted entrance.)
That evening, Mingming still had not returned home, and his frustrated mother headed to confront him, going from internet cafe to internet cafe until she finally found him, playing League. According to Chinese news reports, their argument got heated, and she yelled “You go online and I can’t control you, so I’ll just go die!”
(Or something like that. Other reports feature different quotations like “You’re playing online games; I didn’t teach you well, I can’t live with myself, so I’ll just go jump in the river.” It’s quite possible these quotations are all edited for drama or simply paraphrasing the argument Mingming and his mother had, although they are reported as though they are verbatim quotations).
True to her word, Mingming’s mother dragged her son out of the internet cafe and to the bank of the Jialing river. She called her husband Sun Guangming (pictured above) to announce her plan to kill herself, and he rushed out to find her. But she was already in the river, yelling at her son. A few steps in, she was caught by an undercurrent, and was swiftly swept away. Mingming rushed in to try to save her, but failed to grab her, and fainted.
When he reached the river, onlookers told Sun Guangming that his wife had jumped in. Filled with rage, Sun kicked his son, shouting “You had to go online, you had to play games!” Mingming glanced at his father, glanced at the rushing water, and then suddenly turned and dove in as well.
Sun, distraught, tried to follow him, crying “I also don’t want to live, I will go with you,” but he was rescued by a police officer on the riverbank.
Neither Mingming nor his mother have been seen since, and although their fate is not certain, given that both have now been missing for several days, it seems highly likely that both drowned.