‘It’s my fault’: grief-stricken Chinese gran who blamed herself for tragic plunge-from-height death of beloved granddaughter succumbs to cancer

‘It’s my fault’: grief-stricken Chinese gran who blamed herself for tragic plunge-from-height death of beloved granddaughter succumbs to cancer
  • Toddler nicknamed ‘Little Cherry’ plunged eight floors to her death due to ‘negligent’ nanny drafted in because gran was out getting cancer treatment
  • Since her granddaughter’s death last year the woman refused chemotherapy because she believed she wasn’t worthy

A regret-ridden Chinese woman- whose toddler granddaughter plunged eight floors to her death while in the care of a nanny because the old lady was in hospital receiving cancer treatment – has finally succumbed to the disease.

The tragedy began to unfold on June 14, 2022, while the 21-month-old, nicknamed Little Cherry, was being looked after by a nanny in the family’s residential building in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou in Zhejiang province.

The child carer was drafted in because Little Cherry’s mother had taken the child’s maternal grandmother, surnamed Li, to hospital for chemotherapy.

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Ever since the toddler’s death her grandmother has blamed herself, insisting that if she had not gone to hospital that day, Little Cherry’s mother would have been able to stay home and look after her.

Li, who had been receiving chemotherapy after being diagnosed with stomach cancer in February 2021, refused to continue with her treatment in the wake of her granddaughter’s death, Little Cherry’s father, Chen Changjiang, told the South China Morning Post.

Chen said Little Cherry had been a big source of happiness for Li, always climbing into her bed looking for candies and snacks.

After the toddler’s death, Li asked about the progress of the negligence case against the child carer every day until cancer took her life.

Chen said Li’s last words before she died were, “I’m going to look after Little Cherry.”

The family buried her in the same cemetery as her beloved granddaughter on February 1, their graves just two rows apart.

Chen has continued to make online calls for the circumstances of Little Cherry’s death to be made clear as soon as possible.

Via social media platforms such as Douyin and Weibo, he has urged the police to investigate the child carer and bring justice to the family, while raising people’s awareness of the issue of safety in high-rise residential buildings.

According to surveillance footage from the building, Little Cherry was left in a lift by her carer, surnamed Wu, while she walked out when looking at her mobile phone.

Wu only made a cursory check to make sure the toddler was following her.

Little Cherry, who burst into tears behind the closing lift doors, was helplessly taken to the eighth floor.

She ran out of the lift to look for the nanny only to find an open window 45 centimetres above the floor, from which she fell to her death.

Wu, who lied about her professional qualifications, had only been working for the family for seven days at the time.

Chen told the Post they could not call on their usual carer who was stuck in Guangzhou because of Covid-19 restrictions.

The police investigation is yet to reach a conclusion, while Wu remains on bail, he said.

Chen said he and his family have remained in a state of deep agony since Little Cherry’s death.

At one point, the toddler’s mother tried to kill herself by swallowing 120 sleeping pills, but was saved when her suicide note was posted on social media and police were alerted.

Little Cherry’s eight-year-old sister has become reclusive and reluctant to speak, while Chen cannot stop crying. “It is as if there is always sand in my eyes,” he said.

Chen added that despite the heartbreak, the family still live in the same building, fearing that “my child won’t find us if she ‘came back’ to visit.”

Chinese online observers left heart-warming comments beneath Chen’s Douyin posts.

“My deepest condolences to your family,” said one person. “I can’t imagine how hard it is for Little Cherry’s mother to lose two close relatives in such a short time. I hope she stays well.”

“Little Cherry is forever with her grandmother now in Heaven,” said another.

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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.

Copyright (c) 2023. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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