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Rehab staff 'killed web addict'

A Chinese teenager sent to an internet addiction rehabilitation camp has allegedly been beaten to death by its counsellors, according to reports.

A number of employees of the Qihang Salvation Training Camp in Nanning have been arrested over the death, his father Deng Fei told the Global Times.

The camp had promised to put Deng Senshan, 15, under 24-hour supervision.

China is increasingly taking action against what it sees as a pandemic of web addiction.

Some estimates suggest up to 10% of the country's 100 million teenage web users could be addicted, and a growing number of rehabilitation services exist.

However, there is little consensus on how to treat the addiction. In July, China's Ministry of Health formally banned the use of electroshock therapy as a treatment option.

According to the China Daily newspaper, an agreement the teenagers' parents signed with the camp said: "The centre can take necessary approaches including punishment to educate the teenager, as long as the approaches will not abuse the child or impair his health."

Camp staff are alleged to have put the teenager in solitary confinement on Saturday and then beaten him that evening.

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If addiction is a real problem, just shut down all non-business internet use for several hours, or even days, each week. Once the habit cycle is broken, things will be much better. Withdrawal is usually very quick.

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The treatment and death of this boy is totally unjustified.

I despair at the amount of tyranny and oppression of human rights that still exists.

The importance of maintaining the freedom and availability of the Internet should not be underestimated.

Oppressive regimes know the Internet will undermine their control over people, and will do everything in their power to minimise its influence.

I know in my own country, we have people who would not hesitate to limit freedom of information via the Internet, based on the own ideologies to control or censor what others read and see.

This particular episode reminds me of those religious groups who exorcise demons from their own children, endangering their sanity if not their lives.


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