MURDER MOST TRAGIC: Mum ‘hacked her four children to death because she couldn’t afford to feed them’

Police officers secure an area at West Lake in Hangzhou on September 2, 2016. nFactories have been closed to ensure blue skies, potential troublemakers detained and a quarter of the residents have left: welcome to Hangzhou, a city China's ruling Communist Party is determined will look its best for the G20 summit. / AFP / NICOLAS ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)

A mother of four fed her children pesticide and then hacked them to death because she could not afford to feed them, it has been reported.

Yang Gailan, 28, murdered her children outside their home in Agushan, China, and then committed suicide by drinking pesticide, police said.

Ms Yang’s husband, Li Keying, also took poison and died after returning home from work.

The family are believed to have been living in poverty and the children were not covered by national medical insurance.

They were also not allowed to attend schools as they were not registered on the nation’s Hukou residence system until last year.

According to local media, the family were also excluded from China’s poverty relief scheme and had to survive on crops.

Around 200 million people still live under the poverty line in China despite the government promising to tackle it.

Ms Yang’s story has gained national attention and has been widely discussed on Chinese social network Weibo.

One person wrote: ‘Through this tragedy, I see the corrupted local officials, I see the cold and selfish people, and I see the desperate and helpless family.

‘It has revealed a hard truth of this country that the most vulnerable are treated with smear rather than sympathy.’

Another said: ‘What’s more terrifying than poverty is the loss of hope and faith. That is the extreme desperation of helplessness.’ –