July 5, 2022

An assisted suicide with a twist

Hi there!

Here’s a thought experiment. From Guangzhou
comes a startling story about assisted suicide. A man, Chen Fuchao, mounted a bridge and threatened to jump
to his death. Apparently he was in desperate financial straits. As police negotiated
with him, there were massive traffic jams.

Then someone acted
decisively. Retired soldier Lai Jiansheng scaled the bridge and sat next to the
would-be suicide. They chatted briefly and shook hands. Thereupon Lai pushed
Chen off the bridge. You can see the whole incident here on YouTube.

Fortunately Chen
sustained only minor injuries. He was hospitalised and Lai was arrested. He
told China Daily that “I
pushed him off because jumpers like Chen are very selfish. Their action violates
a lot of public interest. They do not really dare to kill themselves. Instead,
they just want to raise the relevant government authorities’ attention to their

Now could this plausibly
be described as an assisted suicide? After all, Chen wanted to die. Lai was
simply helping him to exercise his autonomous choice and at the same time he
was doing society a favour.

Can anyone clarify the issue?