Chinese teen arrested for organizing 'Blue Whale' suicide challenge

Updated 2017-05-17 10:30:25 Global Times

A Guangdong Province teen was detained Friday for encouraging 500 people to take part in a "Blue Whale" suicide challenge online.

Zhanjiang police said the 17-year-old surnamed Xu faces charges of "spreading extremism" for posting images and comments encouraging acts of self-harm "tasks" to a chat group on QQ.

Police said Xu posted two comments about the "Blue Whale" game in his chat group.

What started as a platform to sell games and clothing, Xu's group membership shot from 300 to 500 members after the comments were posted.

Xu told police he first learned about the game after he was added to a QQ group called "Blue Whale suicide game" on May 9.

The teen is currently being held by police.

His arrest comes after China's Internet police recently called for a ban of the challenge.

Originating in Russia, "Blue Whale" is an online phenomenon that encourages participants on social media to engage in self-mutilation "tasks" for 50 days, the challenge ultimately ending in suicide.

The game has been linked to a number of teen deaths in Russia, media reported.

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