An elderly woman was attacked by a crowd of angry people in eastern China after rumours went viral online about how she had allegedly abused her daughter-in-law and drove the younger woman to suicide, Chinese media reported.
The elderly woman’s daughter-in-law, 30, took her own life by jumping into a river from a bridge in Gaoyou in Jiangsu province on November 15, Thepaper.cn reported.
Her death triggered rumours that she was maltreated by her mother-in-law, the report said.
Police said the allegations were untrue and the younger woman was suffering with schizophrenia.
The rumours suggested the daughter-in-law had to stand long-term abuse from the old woman, who only gave her 200 yuan (HK$225) a month in pocket money from the 3,000 yuan monthly salary she handed over to her mother-in-law.
On the day of the woman’s suicide, the mother-in-law was also accused of slapping her face twice and forcing her to go to work, even though she was ill and attempted to take two days leave.
The rumours sparked anger among locals, hundreds of whom gathered in front of the older woman’s home to confront her, the report said.
She was beaten up by four people and sustained minor injuries, according to the article.
Police were called to disperse the crowds.
Some people commenting online queried the police’s account, querying how a mentally ill woman could have kept down her job in a factory.