A Chinese teenager sold by his birth parents as a child and later abandoned by them after a recent reunion has allegedly died by suicide.
Liu Xuezhou, 17, was found dead on a beach in the southern Chinese island province of Hainan on Monday morning.
The teenager had left a note on Weibo, the Chinese social media equivalent of Twitter. Local police in Sanya city launched a search operation after they were alerted by the public, the South China Morning Post reported.
His story grabbed nationwide attention when he shared a video on 6 December last year in which he sought help to find his biological family.
Liu claimed he was born in Hebei province and was sold to his adoptive parents in 2005.
However, his adoptive parents had died in an explosion when he was four years old. He has since lived with his adoptive grandparents and had short stays with a number of relatives.
The teenager was homeless when he reunited with his birth parents earlier in January, who allegedly severed ties with him.
Liu said his parents, who had divorced and now have new families, refused to let him live with one of them or pay for a different place for him.
His father Ding Shuangquan claimed he had offered his son to stay with him temporarily until he finished college and had promised to buy him a place afterwards.
Liu dismissed his father’s claims and alleged on social media that Mr Ding was lying and that neither one of his birth parents allowed him to visit their homes.
He alleged his mother had even blocked him on messaging platform WeChat.
Last week, he vowed to file a lawsuit against them for abandonment.
“I planned to let it go because I am your child anyway. But you are turning white into the black and don’t feel you’re wrong at all by selling me. See you in court then,” he was quoted as saying.
His mother told Shangyou News that she decided to cut him off after their reunion because she wanted to go on peacefully with her new life.
“Wouldn’t you stay away if he were your child and was being so defensive that he even recorded your conversations? His father has remarried, and so have I. He tried to force us to buy him a home, but we are not well-off enough for that,” she said.
Following the public fallout, the teenager was bullied online, with social media users accusing him of trying to gain sympathy.
In his 10,000-word note on Weibo, Liu wrote about events in his life and was attacked online.
“There have been people attacking and cursing me on Douyin [TikTok as it is known in China] and Weibo in the past couple of days,” he wrote, adding that he has been “abandoned twice” by his birth parents.
He said he had been bullied by his schoolmates as well.
Liu further added that a male teacher had sexually abused him, something he had kept as a secret for most of his life.
If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email email@example.com, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.
If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.
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