A teenager was allegedly beaten to death by counselors at an Internet addiction rehabilitation clinic in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
The 15-year-old middle school graduate, surnamed Deng, was pronounced dead around 3 am Sunday at Wuxu town health center in Nanning, China's national radio website cnr.cn reported on Sunday. View attachment 10404
The medical record showed the boy had no pulse or blood pressure when he was taken to the hospital.
He was to stay in the camfrom Aug 1 to Sept 1 in order to "get away from bad behavior, regain confidence and establish positive life attitudes," according to an agreement Deng's parents signed with the center. "The center can take necessary approaches including punishment to educate the teenager, as long as the approaches will not abuse the child or impair his health," the agreement said.
The center charged 7,000 yuan ($1,000) and promised to "take care of Deng, and supervise the teenager 24 hours a day in the first few days of the training".
Deng's parents wanted the camp to treat Internet addiction (IA) for their son who had no criminal record or other behavioral problems, the unnamed parents told the report. Experts and educators yesterday denounced the camp's extreme act.
"Though there is no nationwide diagnostic standard and the IA recovery sector is still in its beginning stages, the tragedy shouldn't have happened," said Jiang Pu, Beijing bureau director of New Taste Family Education Institute.
"This kind of punishment for treating IA should be banned," he said. Xia Lingxiang, a psychology professor with Chongqing-based Southwest University, said the government should invest more into research to find the physiological and psychological mechanism of IA and then formulate a diagnostic standard. "Before the standard is set, all scientific approaches could be adopted to treat IA, but extreme approaches are unacceptable," he said.
As of Sunday, more than 100 juveniles were still being "guided and trained" in the camp, it reported. Deng's parents arrived in the city from Ziyuan county of Guilin city on Sunday evening. "We have not heard about the incident yet," a press official of Nanning, who declined to be named, told China Daily yesterday.
China Daily tried to contact the health center, but a doctor only giving her surname as Li was unclear whether the boy's body was moved and refused to comment further.
The camp's organizer also could not be reached. China has 320 million Internet users. More than 10 million teenagers of the country's 100 million teenage Internet users are Internet addicts, according to China Youth Internet Association's survey last year.
However, the lack of a nationwide diagnostic standard on IA has caused controversy over approaches to treatment. Last month, the Ministry of Health banned the use of electroshock therapy in the treatment of IA.
By Lan Tian (China Daily) Updated: 2009-08-04 08:21
Editor sacked for report on death at Internet rehab camp
Local officials in the region where a boy was beaten to death at an Internet addiction camp have taken swift action - and fired the editor who ran the story.
"As far as the story's coverage is concerned, I followed my conscience and did what I thought was right," Liu Yuan wrote in his blog at Blog.sohu.com. Liu first broke the story about the beating death of 15-year-old Deng Senshan at a rehab camp in the local Nanguo Morning Post (NMP) on Aug 4, attracting nationwide media coverage.
"I hope my former colleagues at NMP will continue their efforts to successfully run the newspaper, while trying to avoid risks," he wrote. Deng was allegedly beaten to death by counselors at the Qihang Salvation Training Camp in Nanning, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on Aug 2. "All Senshan's family members are very sad about the authorities' decision to fire the editor, while wondering if the reason behind it was that NMP reported the truth of my son's death openly and justly," said Deng Fei, the boy's father. "I don't think there was anything wrong with NMP's stories about my nephew's death," said Li Jian, the boy's uncle.
Instead of sacking the editor, the local government should praise and encourage the newspaper to do more timely and accurate reports on citizens' interests, he said. "Liu was sacked because he made mistakes when he was in charge of the coverage on the Net-addicted boy's death," an officer with NMP told China Daily on condition of anonymity.
The autonomous region's press authorities had not banned reporting on the boy's death, but had issued clear instructions on the coverage of the incident, said a journalist who refused to be named. Regional leaders were not pleased because NMP's report harmed Guangxi's image, she said. With a daily circulation of about 400,000, NMP is a tabloid under the Guangxi Daily.
Liu, 35, is an experienced journalist who came to NMP last year. He formerly worked for Sohu.com in Beijing and Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis News, said a journalist with Guangxi Daily.
Another journalist with Guangxi Daily said an editor of Modern Life Daily newspaper, which is part of the same newspaper group, was also suspended. Autonomous government officials did not make any comments on the issue.
"The media's supervision of government has met many difficulties because the government that oversees them still has many institutional problems," said Chi Fulin, a political advisor and president of the China Institute for Reform and Development. "There's still a long way to go to improve the government's disclosure of information and social supervision," he said.
By Lan Tian (China Daily) Updated: 2009-08-27 07:48