Chinese father faces murder charges in the deaths of his two young children

Society & Culture

Two children died after a 15-story drop from an apartment in Chongqing. Their father is now facing trial for their murder.

murder chongqing
The two children who were murdered by their father.

For a short period of time, everyone believed that it was a tragic accident. 

On a Monday afternoon in November, witnesses saw two children, a two-year-old girl and a one-year-old boy, simultaneously falling from the 15th floor of an apartment building in Chongqing, Sichuan Province. Soon afterward, their father, surnamed Zhang, was captured on camera racing through a crowd of onlookers in his pajamas, holding the kids while wailing as if it were the end of the world.

About nine months later, in a stomach-churning turn of events that has gripped the entire nation, Zhang is now facing murder charges related to the deaths of his two small children. As he is slated to appear in court next week, more details have emerged about his case.

According to Beijing Youth Daily (in Chinese), Zhang’s deception started to fall apart not long after the fatal incident, when his ex-wife and the children’s mother, surnamed Chen, began to question what happened.

Chen said her suspicion grew quickly as she tried to piece together what happened and found that nothing seemed to add up. She told the newspaper that Zhang initially claimed he was eating in a different room when the children fell, but later changed his account, saying that he had been sleeping for most of the day. 

Zhang also failed to give a valid reason as to why he didn’t go to work on Monday. And it didn’t sit well with Chen that the incident took place during a narrow window of time when Zhang’s mother, who usually took care of the children, was away to meet friends. 

“It seemed impossible that it was a pure accident, but I was too afraid to think of other possibilities,” the mother said.

Then, in December, she was notified by local police that Zhang and his girlfriend, surnamed Ye, had been detained and accused of killing the children. A report from investigators revealed that the couple started dating secretly when Zhang was still married. After Zhang’s divorce was finalized in February 2020, Ye found out that Zhang lied about having children and refused to take her relationship with Zhang to the next level because of them. In text messages obtained by the police, the pair discussed extensively about methods to kill the kids and eventually settled on throwing them from Zhang’s apartment, and disguising it as an accident. 

Chen recalled that Zhang had been acting oddly since October. Usually an irresponsible parent who rarely initiated contact with his children, Zhang began frequently inviting them over for play dates. Chen had believed that Zhang was “growing a conscience.” Little did she know, she said, that Zhang was, in fact, planning the murder. In late October, Zhang and Ye made their first real attempt when Zhang took the children home to stay the night with him. But the plan fell through because Chen was there. The following month, Zhang managed to convince Chen to send over the kids again, which was when he and Ye allegedly threw them from his apartment.

In an interview (in Chinese) with The Paper, Chen said that every single day “was like torture” for her since the truth was revealed. “I can’t imagine how scared and hopeless my kids felt when their father pushed them off the building,” she said, vowing to seek justice for the kids. 

The trials of Zhang and Ye will take place in Chongqing on July 27.