Second teen beaten up at China Internet bootcamp

Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:49pm EDT
 
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BEIJING (Reuters) - A 14-year-old boy was beaten up and seriously injured at an Internet boot camp within days of a boy dying after a similar attack, state media said on Wednesday.

Chinese parents have turned to over 200 organizations offering treatment for Internet "disorders" as the government increasingly warns of Internet addiction among the young.

Many of the camps are imbued with a military atmosphere. Patients are forced to replace hours in front of the computer with arduous physical drills or even more extreme "treatments."

Pu Liang was sent to a training camp near Chengdu, capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan, earlier this month by his parents to treat Internet addiction, the China Daily said.

After he was attacked, Pu was taken to hospital with water in the lungs and kidney failure, the paper said without explaining how he had arrived by his injuries.

One of his trainers was detained by police suspected of causing injury, the report said. The camp says Pu was set upon by classmates.

On August 2, Deng Senshan, 15, was beaten to death 10 hours after entering an Internet bootcamp in the southwestern region of Guangxi.

Police detained 13 people who were suspected of inflicting intentional injuries and of illegally operating the camp, Xinhua news agency said.

China, which has the world's largest Internet population of almost 300 million users, in July banned electro-shock therapy as a treatment for Internet addiction after media reports about a controversial psychiatrist who administered electric currents to nearly 3,000 teenagers.

(Reporting by Yu Le and Lucy Hornby; Editing by Nick Macfie)