Bullied China child star survives suicide attempt and mum claims school ignored issue

A handout photo. A Chinese child star and top student survives suicide attempt after being repeatedly bullied by schoolmates jealous of her fame, according to her mother.
PHOTO: South China Morning Post, Weibo/邵一卜

The mother of a child star in China who attempted suicide last year has accused students at her daughter’s school of bullying and several teachers of tolerating the behaviour.

Ninth-grade student Shao Yibu, 15, jumped from the sixth floor window of a Shanghai building in Nov last year after experiencing long-term bullying at the Xincheng School in the Minhang District of the city.

She was held for a short time by cable lines before eventually falling and hitting the ground. She received serious injuries including damage to her pancreas, nose and several fractured bones. She was discharged from hospital in February after three months of treatment, news site Red Star News reported.

Yibu rose to prominence in 2019 after roles in a big budget movie and a popular television series in China. 
PHOTO: South China Morning Post, Weibo/邵一卜

Yibu starred in the 2019 drama film Looking Up, starring mainland China actor Deng Chao, and played a supporting role in the 2019 television series Zhu Meng Qing Yuan, starring mainland Chinese actress Yang Mi.

Earlier this month, Yibu’s mother, You Yongmei, publicly accused 13 classmates of her daughter of bullying and the school’s principal, vice-principal and three teachers of tolerating the behaviour and demanded they be punished, in a Weibo post.

Yibu told her mother her classmates defamed her and isolated her out of jealousy of her child star status and for being a top student.

You said she only realised her daughter was being bullied in May last year when the girl’s form teacher, Lu Jing, allegedly called and told her: “Shao Yibu has been isolated by the whole class. She is arrogant at school, no one wants to stand with her and no one wants to interact with her.”

The teacher said Yibu had called a male student a “sissy” and mocked other students for wearing fake designer clothes and for poor academic performance.

You said when she asked her daughter about the claims the girl broke down in tears and said the teacher’s allegations were untrue.

Yibu said she hid the bullying from her mother because she did not want to worry her. 
PHOTO: South China Morning Post, Weibo/邵一卜

According to the mother, Yibu said: “At first I asked them why they targeted me and made up rumours about me. They said it’s because they are jealous of me as I was often praised by teachers. So they were displeased with me.”

You asked the form teacher Lu to investigate and deal with the problem. Some students and their parents later apologised, but others refused to acknowledge there was anything wrong with their behaviour, You said.

The bullying continued after this, Yibu said. Some students allegedly taunted her by saying: “Isn’t your father dead?”

While handing out test papers in class some students deliberately refused to pass papers to her and some pretended to feel nauseous while touching her belongings.

The girl claims her classmates were jealous of her fame as an actress.
PHOTO: South China Morning Post, Weibo/邵一卜

Her class also did not applaud Yibu, but applauded other top students when a teacher asked them to congratulate pupils with high scores.

Yibu said she hadn’t told her mother about the bullying because she did not want her to worry.

After the suicide attempt, she admitted that she had been having suicidal thoughts for a long time.

“They’ve hurt me a lot. I couldn’t sleep at night. I don’t want to live any longer. I don’t know how to get along with them for another year before graduation,” Yibu said.

The local education department is supervising an investigation into the allegations of bullying at the school.
PHOTO: South China Morning Post, Weibo/邵一卜

She has since returned to the school and is preparing for China’s secondary school entrance exam, the zhongkao, due to be held in Shanghai next month.

On Sunday, the education department of Minhang District said on Weibo that it is taking the case seriously and has set up a team to supervise the school as it investigates the allegations.

Xincheng School could not be reached for comment at the time of writing.

SINGAPORE HELPLINES

  • Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444
  • Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
  • Care Corner Counselling Centre (Mandarin): 1800-353-5800
  • Institute of Mental Health's Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222
  • Silver Ribbon: 6386-1928

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This article was first published in South China Morning Post.