In 2016, the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge closed for repairs. However, despite the temporary closure, the bridge remains the most popular jump off point to take a 70-meter plunge down to death.
Chen Si, a Chinese man, has made it his personal mission since 2003 to prevent people from committing suicide from the bridge. Every weekend, he travels 25 kilometers from his house to the bridge to look for suicidal people about to end their life.
330 Lives Saved
He has been successful in preventing people from jumping to their death at least more than 300 times, News.com.au reported. Chen was the subject of a 2015 documentary “Angel of Nanjing” made by filmmakers Jordan Horowitz and Frank Ferendo who followed Chen for one year.
The docu has more than a dozen awards from the various film festival. “Angel of Nanjing” was the Best Documentary in the 2015 Catalina Film Festival, New Jersey Film Festival Fall 2015 and Phoenix Film Festival 2015.
According to Chen, the most difficult to convince not to jump off the bridge are people suffering from late-stage diseases. Ferendo observed, after a year of following Chen in making the documentary, that Chinese people make snap decisions when committing suicide. They forget all logic when they are upset about something.
Broken-Hearted & Abused People Often Try Suicide
Chen cited the case of a woman whose husband was cheating on her. While on the verge of committing suicide, Chen asked the woman who would raise her daughter if she succeeded in her attempt. She replied that she did not think about the matter.
A lot of those who jump off the bridge are broken-hearted and abused people, said Chen, an IT employee during the weekday. He lives in a two-bedroom apartment with his family where some survivors of suicide attempts stay with them temporarily while on the road to recovery. Because of the fame he gained, Chen’s phone number, where he receives a lot of calls, is listed on the schoolbook of every Year 8 student in China.