A freelance Chinese journalist attempts suicide after she was cyberbullied for her emotional reporting of the death of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe.
Zeng Ying’s status is unknown but her secretary from DDBK, the Tokyo-based company she founded, did not deny reports of attempted suicide and said on Thursday Zeng had been in deep “physical and psychological pain”.
On Tuesday Chen Lan, a well-known writer and friend of Zeng’s shared an alleged suicide note from the reporter on her verified Weibo social media account.
According to the note – which Chen said had been posted on her friend’s WeChat – Zeng had experienced depression since 2018 and from the beginning of July felt she could no longer deal with regular work and life.
For more than a week Zeng had been the target of widespread cyberbullying by nationalist Chinese, following her live-stream reporting on July 8 for Shanghai’s online media outlet
The Paper of Abe’s assassination during an election speech in Nara. While recounting how beneficial Abe’s policies had been for Japanese citizens and his contributions to China-Japan relations, Zeng paused and sobbed. She was immediately attacked on social media. A Weibo hashtag titled “Zeng Ying cries for Shinzo Abe while live-streaming” was read more than 800,000 times.
Some online commenters called for her to “go after Abe” as she seemed sad about his death. Others called her a traitor, asking “why should a Chinese cry for Abe?”Zeng was also defended, with other online comments to the effect that she had acted unprofessionally and may have different opinions but did not deserve such strongly-worded attacks. Zeng later apologized on her social media account for being “unprofessional” by showing personal emotion on a public platform and “hurting everyone’s feelings”.
According to the note shared by Chen, Zeng wrote: “I’ve had a worthy life, I’m only in my 30s, besides getting married and having kids, I’ve experienced everything.”Chen said she had tried to contact her friend several times, but with no response.
Chen said that before the alleged suicide attempt she had asked Zeng about the incident and was told the journalist knew Abe’s wife personally and was shocked by the politician’s sudden death.