In the final hour of his life, Zheng Dexing, 21, checked into a hotel and told family and friends in a flurry of phone messages that he was about to kill himself.
“Don’t come collect my body – it’s too humiliating,” Zheng wrote to his father from Qingdao, the seaside city where he had fled from his hometown in the central province of Henan.
Saddled with crippling debt and hounded by collectors, Zheng plunged to his death from the hotel’s eighth floor last year.
A second-year university student, he had racked up debt of nearly 590,000 yuan ($85,700) after taking personal loans from a dozen online finance companies to pay for his gambling habit.
Such tales of indebted students being driven to suicide have become commonplace in Chinese media and social networks in recent years, sparking public outrage.
Regulators say they are the result of a surge in borrowing driven by online lenders who target …