Chinese Teen Cuts Off Hand to 'Cure' Internet Addiction

By Paul Gaita 02/04/15

A young man identified as “Little Wang” was desperate to end his compulsive behavior.

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News outlets around the globe are reporting the grisly news of a Chinese teenager who was reportedly hospitalized after severing his left hand in an attempt to reign in his addiction to the internet.

A 19-year-old, identified only as “Little Wang” by Chinese state media, is said to have left a note for his mother in their home in Jiangsu, which stated that he had gone to the hospital, but would “come back this evening.” The teenager then allegedly found a bench near his home, where he cut off his hand at the wrist before calling a taxi to bring him to a local hospital.

Surgeons were able to reattach the hand, but stated that it was unlikely that he would regain full mobility. “Little Wang,” whose internet addiction had made him “impetuous,” according to his teachers, was reportedly desperate to halt his compulsive behavior.

Internet addiction is described as rampant in China with millions of individuals claiming or labeled as having some form of addictive behavior in regard to online activity. The alleged epidemic has spawned a booming industry in “re-education camps,” which attempt to cure Internet addicts through counseling and rigorous, military-styled exercise.

However, reports have surfaced that the camps have subjected their patients to electroshock therapy, beatings and assaults that have resulted in the deaths of several young individuals. Legislators in Taiwan have also allowed authorities to fine parents who have allowed their children to use electronic devices to excessive amounts.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.