Young, rural women in China are killing themselves at startling rates. In a country whose overall suicide rate is double the American, suicides are shooting up among young wives caught between the promise of modernizing cities and the traditional subservience of women that persists in the countryside. "Whenever their dreams and reality don't match, they attempt suicide," says a nonprofit worker.
The suicide rate in China is 25% higher for women than men, and three times as high for rural Chinese than citydwellers. Anything from years of abuse to a simple household argument may precipitate it. "I never thought of leaving my husband. Where else can I go?" says one woman who attempted to kill herself by drinking pesticides.