China has punished six local officials for failing to take care of a family whose grisly murder-suicide case prompted heated national discussion about the plight of the poor.

The government of Gansu province in northwestern China said late Friday that three officials face possible dismissal and three others have been reprimanded over the case of Yang Gailan, a 28-year-old villager who axed her four young children to death and killed herself because she couldn't feed them. Yang's husband killed himself a week later.

The case drew intense attention in the national press and on social media after details emerged about the family's dire circumstances.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made rural poverty relief a priority, but faces a massive task, with an estimated 200 million people still living in poverty.