Police in Shanghai's Nanhui District have detained a nanny who they say put a 20-month-old infant on a chopping block and repeatedly slashed her with a kitchen knife in a fit of anger over a job dispute with the child's parents.
Doctors used around 130 sutures to close five cuts on the cheeks and jaw of the child, Li Yuanmeng. The longest cut was 14.5 centimeters, and the wounds were so severe that facial nerves were damaged. Though admitted in critical condition, she was stable last night.
Her mother, Liu Changming, needed 10 stitches to close a head cut she received while trying to rescue her child from the nanny Zhang Xuexia.
The attack occurred on Tuesday night in Kangqiao Town.
Liu said she heard her child screaming from the kitchen at about 10:20 pm. Rushing into the room, she saw that the nanny had the girl on a chopping block and was slashing her with a kitchen knife, Liu said.
When the mother tried to grab the knife from Zhang, the nanny attacked her as well, according to the father, Li Yonggao.
"I heard my wife calling me and ran into the kitchen and took my daughter from the cutting block," said Li, who runs a small construction materials store in the city. "I called the ambulance and police immediately."
The 47-year-old woman, who is now in criminal custody, came from Anhui Province. After her apprehension, Zhang explained her actions, according to Nanhui District officer Zhang Rong.
"She said she's been dissatisfied with her boss for a long time," the officer said.
The child was admitted to Shanghai No. 9 People's Hospital at about 11:30 pm on Tuesday for severe cuts to her face. Doctors said recovery will take about four months, but she may need rehabilitation and plastic surgery for her scars and damaged nerves.
"Even with cosmetic surgery, scars may still be visible completely, and she will suffer poor facial function," said Dr Zhang Lin, who performed surgery on Li. "Due to nerve injuries, she may have difficulty closing her eyes for a long time."
Li, also an Anhui native, said he and his wife hired Zhang Xuexia after they were introduced by relatives in their hometown.
The woman worked for the couple for about a year.
"Zhang had a good relationship with our family; we were shocked by her brutal behavior," Li said. "She liked my daughter and took good care of her. We never expected she would hurt her."
But police said the nanny claimed the family had been critical of her job performance, and she was disturbed when the mother bought her a train ticket to Anhui.
"The nanny thought the family planned to fire her and was in a bad mood because of that," said police officer Zhang Rong. "She said she took the girl to the kitchen after she had a sudden outburst of anger."
The train ticket, however, was simply to allow her to spend the Spring Festival with her relatives, the parents said.
The parents said that they aren't seeking any financial compensation from Zhang, but they want the court to punish her severely.
(Shanghai Daily January 15, 2009)