“Mercy Killing” Mother Spared Jail

State media have recently reported that of Jiangsu province has been spared jail for the killing of her 20-year-old mentally daughter. Court officials have deemed it a “,” and have suspended her 3-year jail sentence. Reuters reports:

Li Daohong, 47, told a Beijing court she had spent all her money over 20 years taking her daughter, Xiao Fei, who could not even go to the toilet by herself, across the country for treatment for “brain paralysis,” Xinhua news agency said.

In despair, she took her Xiao Fei to a Beijing hotel where she fed her more than 200 sleeping pills and smothered her with towels and a quilt once she was asleep.

A photo of Xiao Fei and her parents (Source: news.nen.com.cn)

A photo of Zhang Fei and her parents (Source: news.nen.com.cn)

Xinhua also details the economic background and plight of the mother.

The main income of the family is the wage of Li’s husband, who looks after bicycles in the town.

“I’m afraid I will no longer be able to look after my daughter as I’m getting old,” Li, 47, cried when she was questioned on the court.

[…] Li’s neighbors in her village sent a joint letter to the court, asking for mercy on the kind mother who could not afford a lawyer to defend herself.

The case has been talked about since news came out on the killing, which occurred in January. Most netizens have come to the side of the mother. In a June Sohu posting, two questions were posed. First, “Should the mother who killed her daughter by smothering receive a light punishment?” 265 voted yes, 6 no. The second question, “Can one excuse the mother who killed her mentally-handicapped daughter by sleeping pills and smothering?” received 573 yes votes, 27 no votes.

Netizens also responded in a separate June Sohu posting. The following are some comments, translated by CDT:

One Li Daohong is a tragedy. By starting with our institution and our laws, we should prevent the occurrence of a second, or a third Li Daohong.

Let me think … if I were a mother …
She already tried her best here in the society we have today. This is her sorrow, and moreover, modern China’s sorrow.
She’s innocent; she’s a victim. She has her own life too …
Society, please forgive her. Everybody, please understand her. Law, please release her.

This is a great, helpless, and selfless mother. She devoted all of her efforts in raising her daughter for 20 years. This was an incurable disease, and she had no other choice. She was afraid that after she died, her child wouldn’t have a caretaker; she was being unselfish.
We have no right to criticize her — her regret and her helplessness makes that clear!

October 31, 2008, 5:08 PM
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