Woman kills her twin boys with mental illness, villagers ask for lenient punishment

From Guangzhou Daily via QQ | translated by Jenny Jiang | edited by Key


Mother drowned her 13-year-old twins with cerebral palsy

The village in Huanbu County used to be home of the 38-year-old mother Han Qunfeng and her 13-year-old twins.

Now two children wouldn’t to be held in the small yard to learn how to walk, leaning on the wall, and they wouldn’t have to babble trying to call mum. On the midnight of November 20 last year, Han Qunfeng gave several sleeping pills to the twins and drowned them in the bath tub. When the twins died, she put new clothes on them and tried to commit suicide with pesticides.

The cruelest thing for Han Qunfeng was that she was saved but her two sons died. Legal punishment and endless pain were waiting for her.

Both her husband and sisters suggested her having another baby. But she refused, fearing that it would make her ignore the twins who suffered from cerebral palsy. She didn’t apply for financial support from the government for her sons, saying that if she could afford it there is no need to bother the government.

Her husband chose to forgive his wife, and so did her friends, colleagues and villagers. Their signatures filled up a 10 page petition to give Han a lighter punishment.

Scene 1

Han used to hold her sons to school in her arms.

The rainstorm was rampant, which blurred the road of Huanbu Xixi Old Village. Han’s home was located in a two-story apartment building nearby the village. The gate of the yard was locked tight. You could still see a purple Alto in the yard and the falling leafs around it. There was a couplet on the door, expressing their hope for good luck.

Seeing the reporter, villagers gathered around. Everyone sighed when mentioning Han Qunfeng. The reporter got to know that the twins were taken back home just half a month before the tragedy. In the past seven to eight years, the two boys were living in a rent house neighboring a masseur’s home. They received treatment day after day there.

“In a sunny day, Han Qunfeng would hold her boys to the lane outside the yard. Two boys were both 1.5 meters tall, and very fat. So it was hard for her to hold them. They were helped by their mother, learning to walk. How difficult it was!” said one of the villagers. The scene in which Han Qunfeng cared her sons had long been the most moving view in the village.

Renting a house to treat the boys, Looking after them after work

Mrs. Shi was her neighbor at that time. In her memory Han married to her husband Mr. Huang in 1996, and in June, 1998, Han gave birth to two twin brothers. Unfortunately, due to premature delivery, they had cerebral palsy due to lack of oxygen in their brains.

“They got really busy after that. From Dong Guan to Guangzhou, they frequently travelled to hospitals trying to cure their sons. Han Qunfeng often burst into tears.”

When the twins were three years old, they heard that there was a skillful masseur who might bring help. So they rented a house near him and hired a personal nurse to take care of the two boys.

“Han was an assistant manager in a bank. She had to go to work every day. She went to see her sons with fruits and snacks as soon as she finished work, and often came back home very late.”

Scene 2

Nurse resigned, Han became the nurse herself

Though two boys could neither speak nor walk, they were growing up day by day. They were 11 years old two years ago, and very fat. “The nurse used to take care of the boys wanted to go home because of old age. So Han searched for other nurses, but they turned down the job one by one when asked to take care of two children who were mentally disabled.” explained Mrs. Shi.

The colleagues of the bank where Han used to work told the reporter that she resigned two years ago because no nurse is willing to take care of her sons. “The bank agreed her resignation. We are all clear about her case, and she had worked here for more than ten years. We all feel sympathetic for her.” She said.

Han took care of the twins in the past two years. Always hoping for a turning point for her boys but she didn’t see any hope brought by the treatment.

“It costs 5,000RMB a month only for the massage seven years ago, other fees not included. Not to mention these two years. They spent nearly 1 million RMB for the two children.” said Mrs. Shi.

Afraid of ignoring her two sons, Han refused to give birth again

Han brought back her sons to her home in November last year. “Her husband was so busy that she had to take care of the family on her own.”

Mrs. Shi didn’t know about the tragedy on November 20 until half a year later. She cried for Han when the police came for investigation and said: “They had suffered a lot these years.”

All of Han’s relatives, friends, colleagues and husband asked her to make another baby. “She refused it without hesitation, saying that it might hurt the twins and increase life burdens.”

Scene 3


Wanting to relieve them, drowned while they were asleep

According to the Court, Han lied that she suffered insomnia and got sleeping pills from her neighbor, and prepared pesticides and rat poison two days before the incident. In order to avoid being discovered by her husband, she took out the pills from the packages and put them in a bottle. She left a message for him asking him not to disturb her and the children. Not until the next morning did he found that his sons and wife didn’t wake up and the tragedy had happened.

According to Han in the trial, she explained that she didn’t want her sons to feel any pain, so she drowned them after they fell asleep. The poisons were for her. She vomited once absentmindedly. “I really don’t want to kill them. I haven’t given up once the treatment. But this time I want to offer them and our family a relief. It is better to die than to live on.” She said in the trial.

The court: want to find a balance between the law and emotions

Han’s case has been brought to public prosecution by the procurator recently, and would be tried by the First People’s Court of Dongguan. Officers concerned of the Court promised prudence upon this case.

Actually, the Court received a petition signed by about 1,000 people asking for lighter punishment for Han Qunfeng. “We also feel sympathetic about her and her family.” said an officer. He told the reporter that the Court wants to find a balance between the law and emotions as well.

More than 1,000 people signed on the petition, wishing the judges knew how hard she had lived

Han’s husband recalled that she was upset a few days before the incident. He also didn’t want to mention the past. “It was terribly upsetting!”

In the eyes of the villagers, Han Qunfeng got along well with husband and his mother. “Grandmother often came to look after two children and Han often take grandmother for tea.”

Mr. Huang, her husband forgave his wife and wrote a petition for her. He found villagers, her colleague and friends to sign up on it. “Finally, it has 10 pages with more than 1,000 signs on it.” said Mr. Huang.

Her colleagues signed up, and visited her in prison. “She looked older than before. We all cried when seeing each other.” The colleague said, “I think she must be regretting.”

Mr. Huang’s colleagues also signed up. “We really hope that the judges would consider how difficult their situation was, and how hard she had been through.”

  1. Tough call in terms of punishment. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like China has much social support for people with physical and mental disabilities. Instead of lending a hand (in kind or cash donations or volunteering), “all of Han’s relatives, friends, colleagues and husband asked her to make another baby.” How is she supposed to support the twins and another child? Her financial and other pressures won’t go away with a healthy baby. Ridiculous!

  2. I am an American. And I’m surprised about the outcome, for China anyways. In The U.S. (whcih upsets me) she would most lilkey be sent to a mental facility until she recovers. They neeed to keep these people out of the public before they can do things liek this. I agree with Korean_guy. She deserves a punsihment for her crime. Harder than the one she received.

  3. One of those cases where personal tragedy highlights the problems of society.
    If the judges punish mother (which they will have to do) – they also have to punish many other people.

  4. this shows how much backwards thinking people in china have. there’s no honor in ending a life, not even honor in ending your own. Mao really crushed it big time, he once said that religion is poison, I think it’s about time we say Mao is the true poison China holds as a hero and is still poisoning the minds of Chinese until today.

  5. Ironic that her husband forgives her but the government doesn’t.
    Who do you think cared more for the kids, their father or the government?
    The goverment couldn’t care less about the kids, they just go by protocol, protocols put there by people who also didn’t care/knew about the kids in question.

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