In the Hunan province of China a woman killed herself and her two children after believing that her husband died. This case has shaken China as it reflects the life of women in rural areas.
The most sorrowful part of the incident is that the woman’s husband who was presumed to be dead was only faking his death so as to escape financial debt and secure an insurance payout for husband family. He did not communicate this plan to his family and currently is being held on suspicion of destruction of property and insurance fraud after handing himself in to police.
According to reporters “He, who owed more than 100,000 yuan ($14,400) to online lenders, had driven a rented car into a river on 19 September, according to a statement by police in Xinhua county. Three weeks after he disappeared, his wife, of the surname Dai, posted a letter on Wechat that she was going to kill herself to reunite their family.”
“Police said the man turned himself in on 12 October, a day after the bodies of his wife and two children were found. In a video published by a local media outlet He said he had planned to hide for some time and then retrieve his wife and children and go into hiding with them. He had not told his wife about the plan.” Reporters stated
“My daughter, who is ill, has to get medical checks every month. I have to pay off car loans, and our family expenses. I’m also sick. I did this to avoid debts,” he said. “I never thought my wife would be so infatuated with me.”
Chinese media interviewed the relatives of the man.
An editorial from Beijing News said: “The core of this tragedy is not ‘death for love’, or cheating for financial security. This is about the complete and unresolved desperation felt by women. This desperation is more common in the countryside.”
For years, suicide rates in China are higher for women than for men and more common in rural areas than urban centres, which researchers say are mostly related to a lack of economic opportunities, social isolation, and family planning policies that forced women to have abortions.
In her letter, Dai, who was from a village called Tuanjieshan, blamed herself for not working and staying home with the couple’s son and daughter. She alludes to being criticised: “I wanted to leave alone, but without their parents, my son and daughter will be in pain and will be bullied like me,” she wrote. In her letter, Dai also said her brother-in-law had told other villagers that she was mentally unwell.
In an editorial by Xiong Zhi, a columnist for the Guangming Daily stated :
“This cruel choice … can also be understood as Dai wanting her daughter to avoid going through what she herself has suffered,” Xiong wrote. “We can’t measure this tragedy in simple terms of right and wrong – just like we can’t say simply that Dai ‘died for love’. It’s a reminder that the protection of women’s rights and status in China still has a long way to go.”