Migrant mother strangles daughter and attempts suicide in Shenzhen

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 May, 2007, 12:00am

A housewife strangled her daughter in Shenzhen on Monday after her husband deserted her, leaving her with no financial support, police said.

It was the second case of a mother killing her daughter in Guangdong in the past week. A migrant worker mother in Huizhou admitted smothering her five-year-old daughter last week.

The tragedy in Shenzhen occurred early on Monday when the two-year-old was asleep.

The mother, surnamed Li, was from Hubei and lived with her daughter in a rented single room in Baoan district, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported yesterday. Her husband, a construction worker identified as Cao, had quarrelled with her and deserted her a month ago.

The 36-year-old woman strangled her daughter and called neighbours for help after failing to commit suicide by cutting her wrist.

Fan Changhe, from Guangdong Provincial People's Hospital's psychiatry department, said he thought Li must have decided to kill her daughter before attempting suicide because she believed the child had no chance of survival without her.

Gender studies experts said the tragedies were a condemnation of society because migrant mothers were cut off from help when they lived in cities without relatives and friends.

Some people might criticise the Shenzhen mother's lack of awareness of the law and lack of confidence that society could take care of her daughter after she died, said Ke Qianting , of Sun Yat-sen University. But she questioned whether or not there was support for such women.

Lu Ying, former director of the university's Women and Gender Study Centre, agreed, saying migrant mothers were under more pressure. 'If we had a better social security system [that could support them] we might have a chance to stop the tragedies,' Ms Lu said.