Grieving mother who lost son kills herself after cyberbullying, official warnings


Woman’s son was hit by teacher’s car – and then blasted online

Grieving mother who lost son kills herself after cyberbullying, official warnings

Flowers memorialize the young student from Hongqiao Primary School in Wuhan, China, who was killed May 23, 2023, after being hit by a car driven by a teacher.

A Chinese woman killed herself in late May after her first-grade son was fatally struck by a teacher’s car on school property, sparking outrage among residents and netizens who blamed cyberbullying and government pressure for her death.

The specific reason for her death remains unclear, but in a video recorded before she died, the woman, surnamed Yang, said that national security officers had told her to keep quiet about her son’s death. 

Yang also was criticized by netizens who commented on her interviews with Chinese media by blasting her for dressing too well and seeking more compensation for her son’s death. 

Her son was killed on May 23, when a car driven by a teacher surnamed Liu hit him on the grounds of Hongqiao Primary School in Hanyang District in the city of Wuhan. His parents rushed to the scene and were devastated by what had happened.

Two days later, Yang jumped from her apartment building and died. Her husband also wanted to jump off, but he was stopped by family members, a resident surnamed Qin who knew the family, told Radio Free Asia. 

“This is the power of online harassment,” Qin said.

He Peirong, an educator familiar with the situation, told RFA that Yang’s suicide was not only caused by cyberbullying, but by Wuhan officials who tried to “maintain stability” and prevent her from speaking out. She said Yang’s friends hinted on TikTok that the police had put pressure on her.

‘He didn’t apologize’

In a video that circulated on the Douyin online platform, Yang could be seen standing outside the gate of her son’s school that a security officer named Zhou Jun from the Wuhan Municipal Public Security Bureau had scolded her and her family for making trouble and didn’t apologize or ask about her son.

“He didn’t apologize to me, didn’t apologize to my child and accused us of causing trouble here,” she says on the video.

Under interviews Yang gave to the media, online readers posted a large number of malicious comments, Cover News reported. The Xiaoxiang Morning Post also reported that the incident had attracted attention from many media outlets and some that there were negative comments about Yang.

He Peirong said that an account called “Hubei Has Positive Energy,” with more than 1 million followers and which attacked Yang, was likely a government account. She said Yang was a victim of “stability maintenance,” and called for truth and justice.

The Hanyang District Education Bureau of Wuhan City issued a statement on May 25, expressing grief and self-blame for the boy’s death and saying that the teacher, Liu, had been detained and the school’s principal and vice-principal had been dismissed.

A Wuhan resident who asked only to be identified as Xu said every time a local group or or individual demands rights, the national security officers will suppress online speech. 

“I believe it is true. They want to maintain stability,” he said. “I know that the cost of stability maintenance is higher than military spending.”

In addition, 27 Chinese poets wrote poems to express their voice for Yang.

Among them, a poet who goes by the name of “Night Kangqiao” wrote that only a mother grieved when a child died and that since ancient times Chinese have been educated to only sweep the snow from their own front doors.


Translated by Chris Taylor. Edited by Malcolm Foster.

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