‘Salute to mother’s love’: Woman praised on Weibo for killing disabled son
An elderly Chinese woman who was found guilty of killing her disabled son because she was afraid he would have a tough life after she died has received an unusually compassionate response from the courts and on social media.
The 83-year-old named Huang was found guilty in October of manslaughter over the death of her 46-year-old son Li Mouyi.
Huang, from Guangzhou, north-west of Hong Kong, said she killed her son because of her fear that no-one would care for him after she died.
A Chinese court heard that around about 2:00pm on May 9, 2017, Huang fed her son 60 sleeping pills, covered his face with a cotton pad, and used a scarf to strangle him to death.
She handed herself in to police the same day.
Huang was sentenced to three years' imprisonment with a suspended period of four years.
In their verdict, the court took pity on Huang's predicament.
The head judge in the case, Wan Yunfeng, said the elderly mother deserved mercy even though she broke the law.
"Her tragedy merits sympathy and her emotions behind her acts deserves forgiveness," a translation of the court's verdict said.
According to Chinese media, Huang applied for retirement when she was 47 and had been looking after her son in the years since.
Li Mouyi was entitled to a disability allowance and eligible for admission to a welfare house, however Huang refused the care because she was afraid they could not offer the best support.
"[My son] can't even speak when he gets thirsty, only I can tell," she told the court.
Prosecutors reportedly asked Huang why Li Mouyi's older brother could not have cared for him.
Huang said she was not prepared to burden him, telling the court: "It was my fault to give birth to him and make him suffer. I'd rather commit murder than leave him to someone else."
News of the case went viral on China's social media platform Weibo, as many expressed sympathy for Huang.
One of the most popular comments was on a post by the Guangdong bureau for Sina News, Xin Lang (Sina) Guangdong. The comment attracted 1,500 "likes" and commended Huang for her "mother's love".
"Can't imagine how much pain she went through when killing her son," Weibo user Mayboliang wrote.
"Can't imagine how much perseverance required for what she's done for the past 43 years.
"A woman is often seem as fragile and weak, but as a mother she is so strong. Salute to mother's love."