19-Year-Old Girl Dies In Chinese Rehab Boot Camp For ‘Internet Addiction’

Guo Lingling was beaten when she didn't ask permission to use the bathroom


by Fiona Byrne |
Published on

A teenage girl has died in a rehab centre in China designed to treat young people for so-called ‘internet addiction’.

Guo Lingling (possibly a pseudonym) was attending the Zhengzhou Boqiang New Idea Life Training School in eastern Henan province, which says it helps teens combat their addiction to the web. She reportedly did not ask permission to go to the bathroom and was beaten and kicked by instructors, causing fatal brain damage and skull injuries.

Internet addiction was officially declared a mental illness in 2008, when government-run media started to say that the country’s teenagers were risking their health by forgetting to eat or drink, and skipping sleep in order to stay up late playing online games.

The Zhengzhou Boqiang New Idea Life Training School was one of several schools to launch around that time, with many being run by ex-military personnel, reports Businessweek. Students wear camouflage uniforms and perform drills.

Non-state run media in China has reported abuse at these camps, but students who enter programmes are banned by the schools from contacting their families or friends in order to successfully ‘reform’, so their loved ones remain unaware of the level of abuse that’s happening.

Many students actually asked Guo’s mother to help them contact their parents when she came to get the body of her daughter.

The school’s licence has been revoked, but its website is still live.

Picture: Getty

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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