Posted by Alice Xin Liu on Friday, January 9, 2009 at 12:23 PM
In 2009 China will be the first country to recognize Internet addiction as an official medical condition. Earlier this month the Christian Science Monitor reported on the PLA boot camp and rehab center set up for Chinese Internet addicts, where sufferers are made to go cold turkey from wildly addictive pursuits such as online gaming.
On January 6 Xinhua republished an article from the Beijing Morning Post (北京晨报) about Xiao Cai (小蔡), whose four year addiction to online gaming caused him to attempt suicide various times.
The latest suicide attempt involved the ingestion of steel saw blade fragments. Danwei's translation of the article is below:
Man addicted to Internet ingests steel saw blades; mutters online gaming phrases after operationby Hao Tao and Jia Ru, Beijing Morning Post
23-year-old Xiao Cai was so addicted to the Internet that his mental well-being was affected. He wanted to kill himself, so he ingested saw blades.
Feeling ill afterwards he called the emergency room asking for help. On January 4, this reporter went to his ward to check on Xiao Cai. After the operation most of the bits of blade inside his body had been taken out. Currently his condition is stable.
Under directions from the nurse, this reporter visited Xiao Cai in his ward, who was on a drip. His mother was by his side feeding him spinach and egg soup. Xiao Cai was eating with relish, but coughing now and again.
Xiao Cai had a shaved head, his face was somewhat chubby, and he sported a goatee. The other patients in the ward thought him handsome. After his mother finished feeding him, Xiao Cai became a little restless and started to fidget with the needle feeding him the drip. He was mouthing phrases from online games, and would occasionally laugh whilst glancing towards this reporter. Xiao Cai’s mother said, “Baby, don’t mess around; eat.”
Xiao Cai’s uncle told me that Xiao Cai is 23-years-old this year, and has been addicted to the Internet for three to four years. It’s not the first time that he has tried to commit suicide. On the evening of January 2, Xiao Cai ingested fragments of a saw blade. He ingested more fragments on the afternoon of the next day, five pieces in total. On the afternoon of January 3, he felt uncomfortable and dialed the emergency room number. Xiao Cai’s uncle said, “If it wasn’t because of his introverted personality, perhaps he wouldn’t be so addicted to the Internet.”
He went on to say that Xiao Cai began playing online games in junior high school. A while after this a female netizen betrayed him, and he was so hurt that he put the majority of his time into playing online games. Xiao Cai became more and more addicted to the Internet, even to the point of being affected mentally: he has been taken to hospital by his family for treatment in the past. Before he ingested saw blades, he had also ingested sleeping pills and pesticides. But he was saved each time.
Links and Sources
Jobs in China
Henry on The Eurasian Face
Caroline W on Big in China
Michael on Julia Lovell on translating Lu Xun's complete fiction: "His is an angry, searing vision of China"
Brandon K. on Clueless academic takes on popular fantasy novels
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The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
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+ Korean history doesn't fly on Chinese TV screens (2007.09): SARFT puts the kibbosh on Korean historical dramas.
+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.