A man contemplating suicide last Thursday in the southern Chinese city Guangzhou received a less-than-helpful hand when he was pushed from the bridge by an angry onlooker.
Distraught over accumulating 2 million yuan ($290,000) in debt, Chen Fuchao had been contemplating suicide for hours on the Haizhu Bridge before Lai Jiansheng approached him, shook his hand, and pushed him from the ledge where he was standing.
The not-so-gentle nudge caused Chen to fall 26 feet (8 meters) onto a semi-inflated emergency air cushion, laid out earlier by authorities. Chen survived the fall and is recovering in the hospital with injuries to his elbow and spine, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday.
As for Lai, push had apparently come to shove for 66-year-old, who called Chen’s activity “selfish.” The area surrounding the bridge had been sealed off during Chen’s suicide attempt, resulting in a five-hour traffic jam.
“I pushed him off because jumpers like Chen are very selfish. Their action violates a lot of public interest,” Lai told Xinhua. “They do not really dare to kill themselves. Instead, they just want to raise the relevant government authorities’ attention to their appeals.”
According to Xinhua, Lai asked police if he could speak with Chen. When his offer was refused, he broke through the cordon, climbed to Chen, and greeted him with a handshake and a shove.
Lai was released on bail Friday, reported the Beijing Morning Post. The paper also said Laid has been on medication for “a mental illness” for decades and had been on his way to a hospital for his pills.
The Haizhu Bridge has been the site of 11 other suicide attempts since April.