They might have had a Christmas baby.
But things went terribly wrong the day before Thanksgiving.
It started with a bad cough. Li Liyun, a 22-year-old migrant worker, tried to ignore it because she couldn’t afford medicine. She certainly couldn’t afford a prenatal checkup. She and her partner, Xiao Zhijun, were so broke that they sometimes went for three days without food before refilling again with a bowl of rice and cabbage soup.
When Li had trouble breathing, Xiao rushed her to a clinic, which transferred her to a nearby hospital. There doctors said Li was suffering from severe pneumonia and that the only way to save her and her unborn child was to perform an emergency cesarean. But Xiao refused to sign the release form, believing that the procedure was unnecessary and that the doctors only wanted to charge him for an expensive operation.
About five hours after arriving at the hospital, both mother and child were dead.
The tragedy, which sparked widespread outrage, cast new light on the plight of China’s growing underclass and the dearth of social services. But it also revealed how distrust, fear and superstition can prove deadly in the world’s most populous nation. [Full Text]