A Chinese teenager was allegedly beaten to death by counsellors at one of the country's rehabilitation camps for internet addicts, state media said today.
Deng Senshan, 15, was pronounced dead early Sunday, one day after his parents sent him to Qihang Salvation Training Camp in the southern city of Nanning to cure his internet obsession, the state-run China Daily said. The camp's counsellors put Deng in solitary confinement after he arrived, scolded him for running too slowly and later beat him to death, the paper cited Deng's father as saying.
Police detained four suspects over the beating and are still investigating the case, the report said.
Government-subsidised treatment camps for internet obsession have sprung up around China in recent years as the condition, widely blamed on online games like World of Warcraft, has been labelled as harmful to family relationships and performance in school. Students at the camps are often tricked into going by their parents and are put through strict regimens including boot camp-style military drills.
Some of the camps have also used shock treatment to treat internet addiction, but China banned the practice last month.
Deng's father found the boy's body at a local hospital after police notified him of the death, reports said. The head of the Nanning camp denied Deng had been beaten and told his father he was sent to the hospital only because of a serious fever, the local newspaper Global Times cited the father as saying.
Deng's father had paid 7,000 yuan (£600) for the boy to receive a month of treatment at the camp, the report said.
Deng's family members are appealing to the local government for justice, the reports said.