Yuzhang Shuyuan Institute, a digital detox camp located in southeast China’s Nanchang, has closed down after reports of cruel torture methods to deal with internet addiction surfaced on the web from former students.
The headmaster of the institute, which charges 30,000 yuan (roughly $4,530) for a six-month program, officially announced on Chinese social media that the school would cease operation starting November 2, according to Beijing News as translated by Daily Mail.
The school, as how it was advertised on its social media, calls itself an education center that teaches Confucius philosophy to its students – or “teenagers in crisis” – who are put there to change and to have a better life. They were dressed properly in a traditional Chinese school uniform and can be seen reading textbooks in the photos.
This is not the case, however, when people see what is really happening behind the scenes. A former student of the institution, who was only identified as Shan Ni Ma Da Wang, disclosed how the school used extremely cruel methods to help these teenagers get over their internet addiction.
In her social media post on Weibo on October 28, the former student said that she was tricked by her mother in 2014 to enter the school. At 14 years old, she was forcefully brought to school in handcuffs by the staff.
There, the staff tried to remove every personal items she had that could hurt her or could be used for suicide like sharp objects or strings including her bra. After arriving at the school, she was sent into a window-less cell, which she stayed at for three days. It only had a bucket of water, unwashed food bowl and a dirty quilt.
Another former student, Zhou Yi, also shared his story on how he was treated in the institution. While speaking with Chinese media Jiemiann News, Zhou Yi recalled how he was thrown into a cell after being stripped naked. He stayed there for three whole days, and had lost track of time as he couldn’t tell night from day.
In the country, internet addiction has been considered as a clinical disorder, which is why a lot of parents have become worried about their family member’s social lives. Young people would spend most of their time in front of a computer either browsing the internet or playing online games, which in turn could lead to neglecting studies and other social activities.
The news about brutal methods used in digital detox camps in China is not something new. In fact, Chinese legislators have forwarded a motion earlier this year to ban cruel torture methods such as beatings, electroshock therapy and drugs to “cure” this addiction.
Zhou Yi and Shan Ni Ma Da Wang are only two of the many victims of the brutal detox camp in China. In August, a Chinese teenager died from several internal injuries after he was admitted to an internet addiction facility in Anhui Province.