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Chinese Teen Dies In Internet Addiction Treatment Camp

The fatal beating of a 19-year-old girl is one of many instances of abuse that have taken place in China's Internet addiction treatment camps.

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By Bryan Le

06/24/14

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Last week, 19-year-old Guo Linglong was killed last week by instructors at a Chinese Internet addiction re-education camp as part of a disciplinary "training session" for going to the bathroom without permission.

But her tragic death is far from the first instance of someone being assaulted and beaten to death in such camps. Chinese newspaper Legal Evening News has reported that there have been at least 12 cases of physical abuse at these internet addiction centers in the last few years, seven of which were fatal.

The rise of the camps came as a solution to China's alleged Internet addiction crisis. Some of China's millions of Internet addicts are so desperate to stay online at Internet cafes they have turned to grave robbing and gigolo work. But these camps have proven to be worse for their clients than Internet addiction.

“We can’t contact the outside world. Even the mail we sent will be checked by teachers in case we say anything bad about the school," said one anonymous 17-year-old boot camper.

Guo's mother said that when she came to the school to claim her daughter, students threw pieces of paper with their phone numbers on it and notes asking her to call their families for rescue.

Internet addiction and alleged treatments are still developing fields. The creators of Internet addiction documentary Web Junkie feel treatments like these are misguided: “In many cases, it seemed parents were blaming the Internet for complex social and behavioral issues that may defy such interventions.”

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