Suicide attempt survivor rebuilds her life

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-01-08 09:58
Employees of Foxconn Technology Group work at a production line of the company in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Working three shifts a week at home, four to five days off per month and with a salary sufficient to support herself, 26-year-old Tian Yu is content with her current job as customer service personnel at online shopping platform Taobao.

Few now remember that Tian is one of the four survivors out of 18 Foxconn workers who committed suicide in 2010. That year, Tian, who was then not yet 17 and had worked at the factory for one month, jumped from the fourth floor of the dormitory on the morning of March 17. Tian survived, but she became confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

No one -- even Tian herself -- can tell what the last straw was that forced her to take that step. The unhappy past is not something she would like to recall. But she's clear about one thing: She regrets that decision. It took her nearly 10 years to rebuild her life, the Guangzhou-based Southern Weekly reported.

Tian underwent surgeries in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, regained consciousness and began to recover. She is grateful to the college students who accompanied her in those black days. Foxconn footed her treatment bill and paid her another 180,000 yuan ($25,921) as compensation.

After seven months of treatment in Shenzhen, Tian returned to her home in Xiangyang, Hubei province. She continued with treatment in rehabilitation centers in Wuhan and Xiangyang and gradually regained some abilities to care for herself. She became able to wear clothes herself, use the toilet and bathe herself. Progress is slow but it is still progress.

She met a psychotherapist when undergoing rehabilitation in Xiangyang, and would pour out her concerns and troubles to the psychotherapist, who was like a longtime friend to her, according to Tian.

In 2010, a book on handicraft art – a gift from her visitors – aroused her interest in handicrafts and she began to try to make handicrafts as taught by the book. By the end of 2010, she successfully made some pairs of cloth slippers. The slippers were sold out after some celebrities reposted them on Sina Weibo in 2011.

Tian began to make dolls in 2012, and it took her a week to make one. But the dolls were not as popular as the cloth slippers.

Recurrent wound infections on her legs resulted in frequent fever, forcing her to stay in bed over six months in 2013. She was in a state of depression. She had no job, no aim and didn't know what it meant to be alive in those days. She often spent the days staring into space and rarely smiled.

She was visited in 2014 by a documentary director, who had a long chat with her, talking about the meaning of life and advising her to pull herself together. The director later sent her 34 books and Tian spent most of the rest of the year reading them.

Among the books, she liked A Corner of Altay by Li Juan most because the book depicts a life she had longed for and became difficult to achieve after the 2010 incident.

After finding peace of mind, Tian found the job of customer service personnel at Taobao in 2015 and life began to become fulfilling for her. She works eight hours a day sitting in front of the computer, and does extra hours during online shopping festivals such as the Double Eleven.

Tian met her husband in October 2018 and they got married in January 2019. Her husband would wait for her to go to bed until 12:30 am when Tian works night shift.

Life is becoming better and better for her. "My wish now is to live the best of my life with my husband and have a baby," said Tian.

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