A 94-year-old Chinese woman has taken her family to court in order to compel them into providing her with life’s necessities. However, the decision to sue her family was not her idea, it was her children that coerced her into making the courts decide who should care for her, since evidently none of them wanted the responsibility.
MSN Now shared the heartbreaking story today of Zhang Zefang, a 94-year-old matriarch who is almost blind and desperate for care. Zefang lives in the small village of Fusheng, China, population 3,800.
The Japan Times picks up the story:
“The daughter-in-law smashes the cockroach under her foot and rolls open the rusted metal doors to the garage. Light spills onto a small figure huddled on a straw mattress in a dank room. A curious face peers out. The face is the most infamous in this village tucked away in the lush green mountains of southwest China. It’s the face of Kuang Shiying’s 94-year-old mother-in-law — better known as the little old lady who sued her own children for not taking care of her.”
Zefang said she never wanted to take her children to court, but her two children and one daughter-in-law all said they could, or would not, open their homes to her, forcing the issue to be settled in court. The court’s decision? All three would alternate caring for the elderly woman for four months out of the year.
“I never thought about whether my kids would take care of me when I was old,” she says. “I just focused on taking care of them.”
As a result, Zefang has been bouncing from house to house, and she is not welcome in any of them. The Japan Times provides shocking details on her life:
“Her eyes begin to water. Inside her room, there is no heat to ward off the damp chill, no window to the outside world. Zhang spends her days alone in the dark, accompanied only by the roaches, the mess and the memories of a life that started out tough and seems destined to end the same way.”
Zefang says her daughter-in-law, Kuang Shiying, locks her in her room, pinches and slaps her, and gives her a bucket to defecate in, which she must drag outside to empty.
When the lawsuit hit the local news Zefang says her furious daughter-in-law asked her: “Why don’t you go hang yourself?”
“I’m too old to go through this,” Zefang says as presses a filthy rag to her eyes. Zefang says she didn't even know what the word "sue" meant.
Despite China’s laws that mandate adult children to financially support their parents, the country cannot regulate in what manner the care is provided. Zefang says she would prefer a nursing home, but the few nursing homes in China are already filled, and that most are too expensive. Regardless, her children took all of her money anyway, Zefang laments.
“I wish I could just die," Zefang says.