WTF: Chinese police blame teen's suicide on video games


I come across a lot of disturbing stories where video games (and video game addiction) really do seem connected to the violence. But a recent suicide in the Chinese city of Yinchuan has been linked to video games in a way that seems to be, well, complete bullshit.

On Sunday, a 17-year-old male student jumped from a rooftop in Yinchuan and died. The apparent suicide is a tragedy, to be sure, but Chinese news reports about the incident contain this bit about his motivations for killing himself.

At the youth’s home, police found a rope. Additionally, police found some online games on the youth’s phone with bloody scenes, and have hence extrapolated that the youth may have been imitating video games and fallen by accident.

Separately, the article explains that the boy was an excellent student who’d just gotten a poor grade on a test, which seems like a much more likely motivation for the boy’s behavior given the high-pressure academic atmosphere in China (especially for teenagers on the verge of facing the all-important college entrance exam).

But regardless of what his actual motivations were, the logic of the police here goes a long way towards showing just how backward the perception of video games in China really can be. Why a few games with violence on a mobile phone would lead police to believe a 17-year-old would be inclined to “imitate” them by carelessly jumping around on the roof of a tall building is beyond me. But it makes perfect sense to many in China’s older generation, which is how articles like this are often published without any attempt to question or challenge the belief that anytime violence occurs and the perpetrator was a gamer, the games must be somehow involved.

(And yes, we're serious about ethics and transparency. More information here.)

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