Police are investigating the apparent suicides of four young siblings aged five to 13 who'd been abandoned by their parents in one of China's poorest regions.

State media report the four were found Wednesday night at home on the outskirts of the city of Bijie after ingesting liquid pesticide.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the children's mother had abandoned them three years ago and their father had moved away to find work. It said they had dropped out of school and their only sustenance was corn flour ground from last year's crop.

Bijie, in impoverished Guizhou province, was the scene of a similar tragedy almost three years ago when five runaway boys asphyxiated after lighting a fire in a garbage bin where they were sheltering from the cold.