A mother was spared jail after she admitted poisoning and smothering her daughter, a 20-year-old suffering from brain paralysis.
Li Daohong fed her daughter Xiao Fei more than 200 sleeping pills at a Beijing hotel, and smothered her with towels and a quilt after she fell asleep, the report said.
Li, who comes from a village in Jiangsu province, said she killed her child because she was desperate after having spent all of her money over the past 20 years caring for her.
"I was afraid I wouldn't be able to look after my daughter, as I'm getting old," the 47-year-old said in court.
Xiao Zhi, Li's elder daughter, said her mother was always tired because she had to provide round the clock care for her sister who was unable to go to the toilet by herself.
Li's neighbors sent a joint letter to the court asking for mercy for the woman, as she was unable to afford legal representation.
Li was given a three-year jail sentence suspended for five years last week, by Beijing Haidian People's Court.
In his verdict, the judge said, "The court is convinced that the defendant has spent a great deal of energy and money on the victim, and the psychological burden proved unbearable for her."
Li's case has sparked debate among members of some online communities.
One Internet user posted a message at an unnamed website that read: "Li Daohong is forgivable emotionally, but not in a legal sense. The court should not spare her, as some people may follow her example and kill others just using the excuse of 'mercy'."
Another unspecified blog read: "Our society should shoulder the burden, not Li. A wholesome social system should allocate energy and money for volunteers who want to help the disabled."
Liao Fei, an associate professor of social psychology, Renmin University of China, said society should pay more attention to disabled people and their families.
"The families need not only material aid but also psychological support.
"This tragedy could have been avoided if Li Daohong had received timely help to deal with her problems," he said
"Only by curing the family, can we cure the disabled."
(Xinhua News Agency November 1, 2008)