Teen death at addiction center stirs controversy

Updated: 2014-06-17 09:06

By Qi Xin in Zhengzhou (China Daily)

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A 19-year-old female student's death at a private school in Henan province's Zhengzhou has aroused debate on the role of physical punishment in dealing with Internet-addicted teenagers.

The school where the teen died, Zhengzhou Boqiang New Idea Life Training School in Henan province, claimed to be effective in helping teenagers kick their Internet habit and other unhealthy behaviors.

According to the police in Zhengzhou, the 19-year-old female student, Ling Ling (not her real name), from Xinxiang in northern Henan, died on May 19 during a nighttime training session that was a form of punishment for the girl, who was considered to have violated the school's regulations.

The victim's mother, surnamed Sun, said that early on the morning of May 20, she received several phone calls from the school asking her to go to Zhengzhou to see her daughter.

"I could never believe that I would see my daughter dead in a hospital morgue when I rushed to the city," Sun recalled with tears.

According to another student, 14-year-old Xin Xin (not her real name), who was likewise punished in the special training session that night, the teachers pulled Ling Ling's arms and legs up in the air so that she fell to the ground. They did so repeatedly, Xin Xin said.

"At about 11 pm, Ling Ling started to vomit blood and could not move on the ground, but the teachers said that she was faking death and beat her again," Xin Xin said.

Xin Xin also was injured in the training session that night and received treatment in a local hospital. She was in stable condition.

The local education bureau withdrew the school's qualification soon after the incident.

Shi Quanzhong, an education official of Guancheng district, Zhengzhou, said the education authority hadn't received any complaints from parents before.

Ling Ling's mother said she is still waiting for the results of her daughter's autopsy.

Five people suspected of beating Ling Ling and Xin Xin during the May 19 nighttime training session have been detained by the police, and the case is being investigated, authorities said.

Ma Lie contributed to this story.