@ZouFan from Nanjing decided to end her own life. Publicly. Before she committed suicide on the morning of March 18, 2012, she sat in front of her computer, logged onto Weibo and told the whole world about her decision: "I have depression, so I'm going to go die now. There's no particular reason why, so no one needs to care about my departure. Bye bye!" This was only the final post in a series of public self-deprecation. @ZouFan even referred to herself as “dumbass” in one of her posts.
@ZouFan's message and untimely death have caused a wave of online reactions; estimations speak of far more than two million Weibo micro-bloggers reacting to @ZouFan's message within the last four days. With her post the girl from Nanjing has also gained about 70,000 “fans”. The death of the young girl has been confirmed by the Jiangning Police Department, which also used Weibo to spread the news of the suicide of a college student with that same user name among the online community. The police department went on to remind the Weibo users that, "Life is precious, and we hope that we can all cherish it. If friends or relatives seem like they may commit suicide, please try to contact the police before it's too late."
The phenomenon of public suicides is not only limited to China but rather a global occurrence. American users have repeatedly spread the news of their approaching deaths on Twitter and sadly @ZouFan is only one of many that choose Weibo to write their final goodbye’s – not to their family, but to the world. The underlying fear is that while at the moment posting public suicide notes equals leaving this world with a bang and promises to generate an overwhelming response, the more frequent suicide letters are posted on the internet, the more the online community gets desensitised in this area. This is especially problematic when the reason behind the suicide is actually depression. At times, users even go so far as to support the suicide of a person, egging them on in their quest for death. Such was the case with Weibo blogger Sad old zombie, who replied to @ZouFan’s post: "Depression? Death is a new beginning."