A heartbreaking tragedy

Updated: 2013-12-17 07:15

(China Daily)

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Media reports say that last year a woman in a village in Henan province gave pesticide to her twin sons who were suffering from cerebral palsy for more than 20 years to end their lives. Although the farmer woman surrendered to police after 10 months, it is shocking to know that the entire village kept silent about her crime. The tragedy, however, highlights the need to provide help to people like the hapless mother, says an article in Xinhua Daily Telegraph. Excerpts:

Twenty years ago, the woman, who was then pregnant with the twins, had attempted suicide by drinking pesticide because she couldn't bear the domestic violence at the hands of her husband. She was saved because of timely emergency medical help, but her twins were born with cerebral palsy. During the past two decades, the woman played the role of a "model mom" and tried her best to take care of her sons.

The lack of help and relief from social organizations, however, compelled her to take the extreme step of administering poison to her sons. It is not possible for a poor or middle-class family, let alone a single mother, to take care of children suffering from cerebral palsy.

Civil society can build a sound relief network with the help of government organizations to help such families. Unfortunately, such a social safeguard is not readily available in China.

In the Henan case, the mother had to fend for her twins all on her own. A family with children suffering from cerebral palsy doesn't get the needed social relief from local governments, leading to tragedies like the one in Henan. To avoid such tragedies, the government should establish a mechanism to provide support for those in need of financial and medical help.

(China Daily 12/17/2013 page9)