Shanghai police have detained a postgraduate student of Fudan University after his roommate was poisoned by water from his room's drinking water dispenser.
The university confirmed the incident last night by updating a post on Sina Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter.
The victim, a man surnamed Huang, 28, is a medical postgraduate student enrolled in 2010. He was still in the intensive care unit of Zhongshan Hospital in critical condition last night.
Police have detained Huang's roommate, also a postgraduate student, surnamed Lin, who they said is suspected of poisoning Huang, according to Xinhua news agency.
The incident happened on April 1, when Huang felt discomfort and was sent to the hospital, where his condition worsened. Huang later went into a coma and was diagnosed with liver failure, the school said.
Despite several consultations and checks, the cause of the illness was still unclear. The university then called police. According to the report of the police's preliminary investigation released last week, a toxic chemical compound was found in the drinking water dispenser in Huang's dormitory room, the school said.
Huang's roommate was found to be acting suspiciously and was taken in for questioning the next day.
"The victim is my friend and I could barely recognize him when I visited him in the hospital on Friday," said a woman identified as Hillary Qiao. "He was suffering edema all over and I watched him and cried for a long time."
Edema is swelling, usually caused by abnormal accumulation of fluids.
Huang is believed to be brain dead, according to Qiao.
"Huang is in a very bad condition now. Liver failure and in a coma," said Xu Jilei, a student at Fudan University and a friend of the poisoned student.
Xu said Huang came from a poor family and his mother is also in poor health. Xu said he hoped the public could donate money for Huang's medical bills.
Fang Ming, a spokesman for Fudan University, said the school chose this time to release the news because it had obtained permission from the student's parents and wanted to curb rumors.
"There are no rumors about the accident. We just don't want any rumors," Fang said.
"Although there are no more details that we can reveal, the school has never tried to cover up any information," Fang said.
The incident also reminded netizens of a similar college poisoning case that happened in Tsinghua University in November 1994 when Zhu Ling, a junior undergraduate student majoring in chemistry, was found to have thallium poisoning.
Her classmate and roommate Sun Wei was later investigated by police as a poisoning suspect but never charged and the case was never solved.