Qiang folk costumes like those made by Zhu Juhua are well-known in Leigu Township, Beichuan County.
Although the effects of the devastating Wenchuan earthquake are slowly fading from people's daily lives, a sad post-quake family tragedy has just shaken Leigu Township, Beichuan County.
On the evening of November 15, Leigu was shocked by the news that a couple well-known for their deep love for each other had been found dead in their bed. Both had suffered knife wounds, and a coil of wire was twisted around the feet of the man.
The police are investigating this matter. Relatives of this couple and local residents believe that Yang Jun, who has been suffering psychological trauma following the earthquake, must have killed his wife before committing suicide.
Yang Jun, an excellent carpenter, had a heavy workload during the post-quake construction work. His wife Zhu Juhua was also a well-known dressmaker in Leigu. She had recently made scores of Qiang folk costumes featured at events to celebrate the first post-quake Qiang calendar year, which falls on the first day of lunar October every year.
The couple lived in a two-storey building which became dangerous after the earthquake. Yang Jun's parents and his two children now live in a wooden cabin that they occupied after the earthquake.
"We had our last meeting on the afternoon of November 15," said Yang Defu, Yang Jun's father, "when my son and daughter-in-law accompanied our granddaughter to attend the welcome ceremony for a Canadian who had come to visit Leigu Township. At dusk, they even had a visit from a friend who needed a Qiang costume made."
The tragedy happened that evening. At around 11 p.m. their son Bowa, who is in Grade One of Beichuan Middle School, found his parents huddled together but dead. According to the police investigation there were marks of strangulation around Zhu Juhua's neck and she had died of suffocation; Yang Jun committed suicide through electric shock, although his wrist was slightly wounded by a knife.
"What a pointless and unnecessary thing to do," said Yang Defu in pain.