Police investigate child abuse at Beijing kindergarten

Nov 25, 2017, 01:52
Police investigate child abuse at Beijing kindergarten

A news report on China Central Television (CCTV) on Friday morning showed video of police and angry parents outside the school in Beijing's Chaoyang district looking for answers.

The Beijing Municipal Commission of Education said it would inspect other kindergartens in the Chinese capital, while the company that runs the preschool, Beijing-based RYB Education, said in a statement it has suspended three teachers. It operates some 1,300 daycare centers and almost 500 kindergartens in 300 Chinese cities, according to the data from its website.

According to the South China Morning Post, the kindergarten where the scandal broke has tuition fees of about 5,000 yuan (US$750) a month, which is "about half of the average monthly salary in the city." .

Authorities have not confirmed any of the allegations of abuse.

Some said their children, as young as three, relayed accounts of a naked adult man conducting "medical check-ups", on students, who were also unclothed. These pills made the children "drowsy", reported other news outlets.

One parent told reporters that the teachers had intimidated the children into believing that their words and actions were being watched ― even when at home.

The massive scandal has placed Chinese censors in a hard predicament as they confront a towering wave of outrage coming from middle-class parents concerned about the safety of their children, particularly in the wake of a similarly shocking child abuse scandal at a Shanghai daycare. "How could a child not be scared? If the kids were happy and healthy what parent would engage in such activity?" reads one comment with more than 120,000 likes and which also uses the Chinese idiom "the thief who cried thief" (恶人先告状).

The company says it "deeply apologises" for the matter that has caused "severe disquiet". "And we have also reported to the police some false accusations against us". It didn't elaborate on the specifics, however.

This isn't the first time teachers with RYB Education have been accused of abuse.

In 2015, a court in Jilin province found two teachers guilty of physically abusing children at one of its kindergartens in the city of Siping.

Earlier this year, RYB said it had found "serious mistakes" at another one of its Beijing schools and had asked the principal to step down after videos emerged showing teachers hitting and pushing children.

As such abuse allegations have grown more common in China, the public has become increasingly incensed at what many now see as a systemic problem.

RYB Education hasn't responded to the allegations. According to Reuters, there was more than 76 million mentions of "RYB" on China's popular WeChat messaging service on Thursday alone.

"If this happened only occasionally, it could be put down to personal factors".

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