The suicide of a woman and her two children in the Hunan province in China after her husband allegedly faked his own death has led to questions on financial stress and life of women in the countryside. The woman, identified by her surname Dai, drowned herself and her two children after sharing her last letter on social media site WeChat, stating she wants to reunite with her husband she believed was dead.
The husband, identified by his surname, He, had allegedly faked his own death to receive insurance payout after his debts mounted. He surrendered to the police a day after bodies of his wife and children were discovered and has been detained on charges of insurance fraud and intentional damage to property, reported the BBC.
In September, He rented a car and faked a crash. The 34-year-old told authorities he had planned to fake his own death to pay the medical bills of his 3-year-old epileptic daughter from the insurance money. His wife was listed as the beneficiary of the insurance payout.
He, however, didn’t inform his wife about the plan. On October 10, she drowned her children and herself. In her letter, Dai says she wants to leave alone but leaving her children orphans would mean they would be bullied like she was, The Guardian reported.
A report by The Telegraph reveals China is the only country in the world where the female suicide rate is higher than the male. The suicide rate is much more in rural China where young women are married off and made to adhere to familial norms and stay dependent to the men in the household.
The incident has also raised questions on financial pressures on the rural citizens of China. According to the BBC, the hashtag #ManFakesDeathLeadingtoWifesDeath has been viewed almost 29 million times on microblogging site Weibo.
Quoting an editorial by Xiong Zhi, a columnist for the Guangming Daily, The Guardian said, “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.”