By Katie Nelson
On May 14, a Henan teenager was arrested after allegedly hiring hitmen to kill his father and older sister because, reports initially claimed, they had “pressured him to study”. After further investigation, however, authorities have pieced together new evidence suggesting that China’s much loathed one-child policy may have been a factor in the crime, according to the South China Morning Post.
High school junior Gao Weishang on Monday was detained under suspicion of hiring two hitmen that he met on the internet to kill his father, a 49 year old member of the judicial committee of the Intermediate People’s Court of Zhoukou city, and his 28 year old sister.
After initial questioning, police suspected that the teen had killed his father and sister because “they had given him too much pressure in study”. Authorities now believe that his motives were more complex.
[Reports] said Gao Tianfeng and his wife were both high-ranking party cadres in Zhoukou and had their first child in 1985. Cadres and government officials may be expelled from the Communist Party and removed from their positions if they violate the one-child policy by having multiple children.
So the couple were taking a big risk when they had their son in 1995. It was a secret the family kept for 18 years.
Because of this, Gao Weishang moved often and, three years ago, was sent to study at a high school in Luohe city nearly 70 kilometers away from his Zhoukou-based family.
Gao Weisheng had told his friends that he was suffering from depression and that his life felt hopeless, according to The Beijing News. “The distant darkness looks so horrible. I can’t breathe … but only keep falling down,” Gao wrote on his microblog.
Xi Jinping’s new administration has shown signs of loosening the one-child policy, which many believe has caused social and economical harm to the country since its implementation in 1979, but the issue still remains largely at a standstill, according to Reuters:
Former State Councilors Song Jian and Peng Peiyun, who once ranked above cabinet ministers and remain influential, have been lobbying China’s top leaders, mainly behind closed doors: Song wants them to keep the policy while Peng urges them to phase it out, people familiar with the matter said.
Their unresolved clash could suggest the leadership remains torn over one of China’s most divisive social issues, said a recently retired family planning official. How quickly it is settled may shed light on whether new President Xi Jinping will ease family-planning controls on a nation of 1.3 billion people.