Suicide in China

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Statistics on suicide in China are somewhat controversial in that independent studies often produce estimates that are greatly at odds with official statistics provided by the country's government. On the basis of data gathered in 1999, the government estimated an overall rate of 13.9 per 100,000 people,[1] much lower than in the total rate in other East Asian countries: Japan (18.5) and South Korea (28.9).

The most recent government data provides statistics more inline with external estimations. According to a 2011 Centre for Disease Control and Prevention report, China's suicide rate is 22.23 people out of every 100,000.[2] This rate places the country among the countries with the highest suicide per capita in the world.  For 2009–2011, 44 % of all suicides occurred among those aged 65 or above and 79 % among rural residents.[3] However, a 2014 study conducted by the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention at the University of Hong Kong reported that China's suicide rate has dropped significantly, among the lowest levels [4] in the world. An average annual rate of about 9.8 people out of every 100,000 committed suicide as of 2009 to 2011, a 58% drop, largely as a result of population migration from rural areas and urbanization of middle class. Paul Yip, a co-author of the recent study and professor at the University of Hong Kong, said "no country has ever achieved such a rapid decline in suicides".[5]

Suicide demographics[edit]

In China, more women than men commit suicide each year. According to official government statistics: in 1999, the suicide rate per 100,000 people was 13.0 for men and 14.8 for women,[1] the second highest female suicide rate in the world. Bangladesh is also among the few countries where the female rate is higher than the male rate. According to official PRC government statistics, the Chinese male rate (13.0 per 100,000 men per year) is lower than in many other countries, including some Western countries, such as the United States, Australia and Germany.

A 2008 study found that: female suicides outnumber male suicides by a 3:1 ratio; rural suicides outnumber urban suicides by a 3:1 ratio; a large upsurge of young adult and older adult suicides has occurred; a comparatively high national suicide rate two to three times the global average is evident; and a low rate of psychiatric illness, particularly clinical depression, exists in suicide victims.[6] According to the journal Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, there are over 300,000 suicides in China annually;[7] thus China accounts for more than 30% of the world's suicides.[8] The suicide rate in the Yangtze Basin is about 40% higher than in the rest of China.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Suicide rates (per 100,000), by gender, China 1987-1999 World Health Organization
  2. ^ "China's suicide rate 'among highest in world'". AFP. September 9, 2011. Archived from the original on September 26, 2013. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  3. ^ Wang, Chong-Wen (2014). "Suicide rates in China from 2002 to 2011: an update". Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology. 49: 929. 
  4. ^ "China's suicide rate has dramatically declined in recent years: Report". Shanghaiist. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  5. ^ [ A dramatic decline in suicides: Back from the edge]
  6. ^ Law, Samuel & Liu, Pozi (February 2008), "Suicide in China: Unique demographic patterns and relationship to depressive disorder", Current Psychiatry Reports, Current Psychiatry Reports, 10 (1): 80–86, doi:10.1007/s11920-008-0014-5, PMID 18269899 
  7. ^ Phillips, Michael R.; Liu, Huaqing; Zhang, Yanping (November 3, 2004), "Suicide and Social Change in China", Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 23: 25–50, doi:10.1023/A:1005462530658 
  8. ^ Yip, Paul S. F.; Liu, Ka Y.; Hu, Jianping; Song, X. M. (2005), "Suicide rates in China during a decade of rapid social changes", Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 40 (10): 792–798, doi:10.1007/s00127-005-0952-8, PMID 16205852 
  9. ^ He, Zhao-Xiong (November 9, 2004), "A suicide belt in China: The Yangtze Basin", Archives of Suicide Research, Archives of Suicide Research, 4 (3): 287–289, doi:10.1023/A:1009609111621