The Tragedy of a Wild Fan Shocks Hong Kong People

By Huang Weiguo, Trend Magazine
April 18, 2007 Updated: April 18, 2007

Mainland Chinese Yang Qinji committed suicide on March 26 because his daughter Yang Lijuan did not get a chance to meet with Hong Kong movie star Andy Lau alone. The incident has sparked a debate and created a furor in Hong Kong and China. Yang's family lives in Lanzhou in northwestern China. His daughter Yang Lijuan has been a fan of movie star Andy Lau since the age of 15. Her obsession with Lau led her to quit school and at 30 years old, remained idle, spending her days watching videos of Lau's concerts. She wrote letters to him, bought all products related to him and traveled to Hong Kong twice hoping to meet with her idol.

To raise money for her second trip to Hong Kong, Yang Lijuan's parents sold off their only apartment in 2004 and in March this year, the downtrodden family of three went to Hong Kong to attend a fans meeting hoping that Yang Lijuan would be able to see Lau alone. However, it turns out that Yang could not meet Lau alone and in protest, her father committed suicide by jumping into the Salisbury Sea in Hong Kong. He left behind a letter admonishing Lau for being “cold blooded and heartless”.

This tragedy has sparked off a furious debate in Hong Kong. The extreme behavior of the Yang family is disturbing. They made themselves victims and accused Lau guilty of the father's death. In his suicide note, the father wrote: “I have decided to die in protest. I'm going to die. You, Andy Lau, have to meet my daughter another time or my death will be a waste…” The mother accused Lau guilty of her husband's death. The daughter cursed Lau in front of reporters, “Let him choke to death when eating and drinking.” In sympathy, Lau offered to pay for their travel expense back home; however, the mother and daughter demanded 500,000 yuan (approximately US$60,386) in compensation. Lau withdrew his kind-hearted offer of help realizing that his kind act was not appreciated.

The incident exposes the psychological problems that are hidden in people living in mainland China. Lan Guoqiang, a psychologist from Anran Psychological Consultation Center in Lanzhou, pointed out that Yang Lijuan is suffering from “love paranoia,” symptoms of which include lack of self-control, narrow-mindedness and no sympathy for others' feelings. Lan believes that this is caused by society, education and family. He suggested that she receive treatment in a hospital, but her father rejected. Lan reminded the public that China does not have a complete system to help people maintain a healthy psychology. In many areas, there are psychological crises, but lack of aid.

Is Yang's tragedy a particular incident? It is a social problem. Before the tragedy happened, media in China reported on Yang Lijuan's story for entertaining audiences. Some media even have a series of reports on her story. No one cared about the psychological problem behind it. Their reports encouraged the Yang family. Some told Yang that since so many large media companies such as China Central TV had reported on the story, your daughter must be able to see Lau.

After the father committed suicide, some internet users condemned that Lau was indifferent. A 24-year-old young man said he was so touched by their story that he proposed to Yang Lijuan. A student in the Department of Law at Beijing University, Zhang Bo, posted a picture of himself with scissors pointing to his own stomach, threatening Lau to marry Yang Lijuan with his death. He said by doing so, he was defending people against injustice, which was the training of the law he was taught.

Judging by these cases, is it only the Yang family with psychological problems? No wonder psychologist Lan told society not to continue to sympathize with Yang and support her. It's an encouragement for abnormal acts.

On the other hand, the reactions toward the incident in Hong Kong are more mature. Most people and media feel sorry for the Yang family, but few support them. Lau only gave Yang Lijuan a comment that it's a pity “she has done so much to harm her father.” It is worth praising that Lau insisted on not meeting Yang alone. He not only protected his personal life, but discouraged other fans from imitating the irrational act.