A Chinese teenager was allegedly beaten to death at a boot camp for troubled youths that his mother had lured him to attend by promising he was going to study IT, state media said on Thursday.
Chen Shi, 16, died two days after enrolling in Beiteng School in Changsha, capital of central China’s Hunan province, having been beaten up when he refused to run during training, the “Beijing Times” reported.
According to witnesses, an instructor – helped by two others – beat him with a plastic pipe, handcuffs and a wooden baton when he refused to run.
The incident comes amid controversy over China’s hundreds of boot camps that aim to discipline unruly youths or wean them off web addictions.
His mother, Tang Yulin, decided to enrol Chen Shi to toughen him up because he was “afraid of hardship, had weak willpower and not enough self-confidence” and had failed a school exam, the newspaper said.
They both travelled to Changsha from their home province of Jiangsu, in the east.
The school’s admissions director had advised her to lure her son to the camp by saying it was an IT school, saying 90 per cent of students who attended were given a false reason for attending and the remaining 10 per cent were “kidnapped” by their parents or school instructors, the paper claimed.
Ms Tang paid 22,800 yuan (£2,300) for one semester and went home after being told she would not be able to contact Chen Shi directly, and would have to use a teacher as an intermediary, the report said.
Two days later, she received a call from the school saying Chen Shi was in hospital in critical condition “possibly from sunstroke”, and asking her and her husband to come immediately.
They jumped on a plane but their son died before they arrived. They managed to see his body – which was covered in blood and bruises, while his underpants were torn.
The report quoted police as saying that three people had been detained on suspicion of killing Chen Shi. The school has now been closed amid disciplinary measures, the report added.
In August last year, the beating to death of a teenage boy enrolled by his parents at an internet addiction camp provoked outrage across the country.