Hsueh Jun-Chen, a 22-year-old university student in western Taiwan, committed suicide by self immolation after a heated argument with his father the night before.
The Daily Mail is reporting that Hsueh had a heated argument with his father Liu, 48, which “tipped him over the edge.” Hsueh lived with his family in the town of Fenyuan in western Taiwan when Liu knocked on his son’s door and requested that he turn in for the night rather than stay up late to play online video games. During the fight, Liu reportedly said to his son that he was fed up with his gaming habits and wanted him to stop it all together. Liu was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying the following.
“I had simply said that he should sleep rather than play because university was starting again after the holidays.”
When Liu woke up the following morning, Hsueh was missing from his room. Liu went to the garage to see if his son had left on his motorbike and saw that the bike was still there. However, two cans of gasoline were missing. Liu would find his son’s burnt remains 300 meters away from the house with the missing cans of gasoline next to him.
Police in Taiwan issued a statement saying: ‘We are continuing our investigations but it seems that the pressure of his studies and finding a job after graduation may have been a factor and his father telling him to stop playing on the computer may have tipped him over the edge.”
This is not the first suicide in Taiwan to have a connection to video games. The Daily Dot reported on a suicide on January 1 that involved the death of a man in New Taipei City. The 38-year-old man, Chu, was found dead in the bathroom after a 5 day gaming binge in the local video game cafe. A week later, another gamer died of heart failure and exhaustion from 72 hours of straight play.
The problem of video game addiction is not just isolated to Taiwan, as deaths have been reported in China, Japan, and South Korea. The Inquisitr reported on two parents who left their baby Sarang to die while they nurtured a virtual baby in an MMO they played together at an internet cafe. A documentary entitled Love Child was made in the aftermath of the incident, which aired on HBO.
Readers may instantly draw ire at the video game as the source of the evil in this story of Hsueh, but many people forget to look beyond the story with the eyes of western culture. Asia, in general, is a society founded on “honor” and “shame.” A culture with no hope is cited as many of the reasons for the negative birth rates in countries like Japan. Many youth find escape from the culture in things like online video games, where the only limit is the imagination along with a sense of control and approval that come with it.
The police in Taiwan speculate that the stress of studies, finding a job, and other elements led to the suicide of Hsueh Jun-Chen. Psychology Today reminds readers that suicide is perceived in a different way than it is in western countries like the United States. It is entirely possible that Hsueh felt he would be less of a burden on his family, or that his death would erase a sense of “shame.” Whatever the reason, it was strong enough for a 22-year-old man to willingly kill himself in an extremely painful way.