Chinese Teen Dies After Being Sent to an Internet Addiction Camp

Lianne Hikind | August 15, 2017
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A Chinese teenager who was currently being "reformed" at an internet addiction treatment center has died after he sustained multiple injuries. These centers have been the center of much controversy among the public. 

The BBC is reporting: 

China has seen a proliferation in so-called "boot camps" aimed at treating internet and gaming addictions. Some are known for their military-style discipline and have been criticised for overly harsh practices.

The 18-year-old's parents decided their son had developed a "serious internet internet addiction," and sent him to the treatment center in Fuyang city. This center, according to BBC, touts using "psychological counseling" and physical training to treat children for their internet addiction. 

But this kid, it turns out, wasn't so lucky. The mother, identified only as Mrs. Liu, picked up her son 48 hours after she had dropped him off -- only this time it was from a hospital, where he had already been pronounced dead. 

The parents said they were told by doctors who examined their son's body that he had sustained more than 20 external injuries, as well as several internal injuries. They were allowed to see his body in the mortuary. "My son's body was completely covered with scars, from top to toe... When I sent my son to the centre he was still fine, how could he have died within 48 hours?" Ms Liu was quoted as saying in Anhui Shangbao.

Despite the controversy surrounding them, the number of internet addiction treatment centers in China has actually increased in recent years, and the details about them are pretty incriminating. According to the BBC:

Addiction "boot camps" have grown in number across China in recent years. Some are run out of government hospitals while others are private centres or schools.They remain popular despite growing controversy over some centres' practices, such as beating patients and electroshock therapy, and a string of shocking incidents. Last year, a teenager reportedly killed her mother for sending her to a centre where she was allegedly abused.

Chinese authorities are beginning to crack down on these centers. According to the Global Times, there has been a law drafted to prevent electroshock from being used to treat internet addicts.