Beijing | A woman in northwest China allegedly killed four of her children and later committed suicide after her family was reportedly denied government poverty allowance because they were not poor enough, highlighting the wealth gap in the Communist nation.
The tragedy in Kangle county in China’s Gansu province was compounded when the husband was found dead eight days later in another apparent suicide, China Youth Daily reported yesterday.
Villagers found 28-year-old Yang Gailan near her house on August 26, together with her four children aged three to six.
All five were either already dead or died in hospital soon after, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported today.
Apparently the four children had been hacked with an axe before being fed pesticide, and the mother, who was accused of the murders, had poisoned herself, the local government said in a statement.
Eight days later, the husband, Li Keying, was found dead in the woods after taking poison, police said.
Yang and her four children lived together with her father and grandmother in a mountainous village while her husband worked in the city for extra money.
They barely survived on the crops – mainly peas and wheat from a small farm as well as three cows and three sheep, the Youth Daily said.
The family was included in their village’s allowance programme for poor families in 2013, but was removed from the list in 2014 “because Yang’s family was not mentioned during a consultation meeting for low-income family qualification”, the newspaper cited the village director as saying.
China’s poverty relief ‘grading scheme’ will rate top officials based on how much they improve life for the poor The Yang family was also barred from another government programme for low-income families because they earned too much.
The Yang’s average income from the husband’s work and the family crops was 5,226 yuan (over USD 870), much higher than the maximum allowed income of 2,300 yuan (USD 385), according to the local government.
Inequality in China, the world’s second largest economy has long been a concern.
Local authorities in 22 provinces and autonomous regions have spent 58 billion yuan (USD 8.8 billion) on relocation projects, with construction started on over 10,000 of them, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said last month.
China plans to relocate 2.49 million poor people in 2016.
So far, 718 projects have been completed and 226,000 people have moved, the NDRC said.