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Hunger strike student highlights mental concerns

[ 2009-10-21 11:31]     字号 [] [] []  
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A PhD student who went on a hunger strike over his noisy computer-game playing roommate has highlighted the fast-rising number of Beijing students suffering psychological problems.

On Oct 14, Xiu Liangzhang, 27, a second year doctoral student from Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT), posted a message on a campus bulletin board claiming he would start a three-day hunger strike and quit school. He said it was because BIT had not responded to his September request to be moved from his "noisy" room.

His roommate was obsessed with computer games and often played all night until early morning, significantly affecting his sleep, his posting said.

Xiu told METRO yesterday he had stopped the hunger strike but was still determined to quit one of the top technology universities in Beijing.

His roommate denied making noise, and university authorities said they had complied to Xiu's relocation request immediately.

But the student's strange behavior reflected how modern-life pressures were affecting students.

Over the past two years, the number of students seeking psychology therapy from BIT psychological center has doubled from 120 to approximately 240.

A counselor from the school, who refused to be named, said today's generation of college students were suffering more than past generations.

"Students, especially those of the post-80s generation, tend to have more psychological issues since most of them are the single child of the family. When they leave home and come to university, they will face significant pressures from study, career and relationships," she said.

Xiu said BIT had already signed his departure application and he was now looking for work.

Hao Hongtao, director of the graduate student affair office with the university, told METRO he had received Hao's transfer request on Sept 20 and approved it immediately.

"It's common for students to request room transfer, but it takes time to find a new room for them since there is no vacancy available all the time," he said.

From Oct 14 until yesterday, Xiu posted a message online every day saying he was very upset that BIT didn't approve his request and that he was from a very poor family and life had been harsh on him.

However, Tang Lihong, Xiu's roommate, denied Xiu's allegations.

"I rarely played computer games, even when I was playing I didn't make any noise," he told METRO yesterday.

Tang said on the same day when Xiu posted the first message, he moved out under the school's new arrangement. He claimed that Xiu had stopped talking with him since last November due to communication problems.

According to a figure released by Beijing municipal education bureau in 2008, 17 to 18 percent of undergraduate students and 16 to 17 percent of graduate students in Beijing had psychological problems.


1. Where did Xiu Liangzhang post his hunger strike message?

2. What does Xiu say his roommate is obsessed with?

3. How many students have sought psychology therapy from BIT psychological center over the past two years?


1. On a campus bulletin board.

2. Computer games.

3. Approximately 240.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Hunger strike student highlights mental concerns

About the broadcaster:

Hunger strike student highlights mental concerns

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.