In China, in the Hunan province, a woman drowned herself and her two children after believing that her husband was dead, reports The Guardian. The shocking and tragic event occurred after the woman’s husband, with the last name He, faked his own death by driving his car into a nearby river to escape financial debt and to commit insurance fraud.
He turned himself in on October 12, one day after finding out that his family was dead, and is being held on suspicion of destruction of property and insurance fraud. He reportedly owed 100,000 yuan ($14,400) to online lenders.
Three weeks after being told that her husband was dead, the woman, with the last name Dai, posted a letter on Wechat declaring that she was going to kill herself and her children to reunite the family once more. In the letter, Dai wrote that she blamed herself for her husband’s death and that people in her village, including her brother-in-law, criticized her and told her that she was mentally ill.
“I wanted to leave alone, but without their parents, my son and daughter will be in pain and will be bullied like me.”
He told local media outlets that he had been hiding out after faking his death and was planning on sneaking back home to take his wife and children somewhere safe where they could go into hiding.
“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. I never thought my wife would be so infatuated with me.”
Chinese woman kills herself and children after husband fakes death https://t.co/Yq3lgNw0A0
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) October 17, 2018
The details of the case have prompted a debate in China over the lending industry, which has led many people into debt, and the conditions that rural women face.
A Beijing News editorial commented on the tragic decision that Dai made for herself and her children.
“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.”
An editorial by Xiong Zhi, who works for the Guangming Daily, explores the same idea of the desperation felt by rural women and the gender inequality that still exists in China.
“This cruel choice … can also be understood as Dai wanting her daughter to avoid going through what she herself has suffered. 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.”