Tue, Sep 07, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Report: Asian values lead suicidal parents to kill kids

DPA , TAIPEI

Taiwanese parents are three times more likely than Americans to kill their children along with themselves when they commit suicide, because Asians traditionally see their children as their personal possession, according to a study released yesterday.

The report, conducted by the Dr. Sun Yat-sen University Hospital, said that between 1992 and 2001, there were 78 cases of parents also killing their children when they committed suicide.

"In 2001, 2,500 Taiwanese committed suicide. Of those, there were 18 parent-child suicides, accounting for 0.72 per cent of the total number of suicides," it said.

"This is three times higher than the number of parent-[child] suicides in the US," the report said.

Most of the Taiwanese parents were middle-aged when they killed their children and committed suicide, the report said. They ended their lives for reasons of unemployment, debt, marital troubles or mental problems.

The children they killed were mainly infants.

Taiwan mothers are twice as likely as fathers to kill their children when they commit suicide.

The high number of parent-child suicides results from Asian traditions, in which adults are seen as having the right to decide their children's life and death.

When the parents want to commit suicide, they take along their children under the excuse that if they left their children behind, no one would care for them, the report said.

Taiwan has one of the highest suicide rates in Asia. Last year, 3,053 Taiwanese committed suicide, an average of eight suicides per day or one suicide every three hours. The suicide rate was 14.1 suicides for every 100,000 people.

Lithuania has the world's highest suicide rate, with 44 suicides per 100,000 people.

In Asia, Japan has the highest suicide rate with 25 suicides for every 100,000 people.

Last year, 32,082 Japanese committed suicide, averaging 87 suicides per day or one suicide every 15 minutes.

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