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Chinese volunteer helps curb suicides
06 January 2005

Beijing: The Nanjing Bridge over the Yangtze has become a national symbol since its completion in 1968, but it has also become associated with lost hope and despair. Up to 1,000 people are believed to have died by jumping off it.

In a bid to stop the suicides, a local man, Chen Si, began patrolling the bridge just over a year ago.

Since then he has persuaded dozens of people not to kill themselves and has drawn attention to the increasing number of suicides in China.

Mr Chen told BBC World Service's Outlook programme he was inspired to take action after seeing a television report about suicides from the bridge, aired to mark International Suicide Prevention Day.

"That very day, the deputy director of a securities firm - a wealthy man, who was wearing lots of jewellery - jumped off the bridge," Mr Chen said.

"So I thought he must have been under terrible pressure, or have psychological problems. I thought somebody needs to be here, to stop people like that."

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