A father from Guangyuan, Sichuan Province, China is currently being criticized by netizens for putting his son under an intense workout regimen, claiming that the 6-year-old boy is being mistreated.
The father, Zhang Yu, makes his son Wangwang ride his bicycle every day while carrying 7 kilograms (15.4 pounds) of supplies during their cycling tour that started on January 17, according to China Daily.
The father and son cycling duo began their tour on Wednesday last week. Each day of the tour, they bike up to 43 miles (70 km). On top of that, they both carried a total of 70 kilograms (154 pounds) worth of supplies during their adventure that includes a tent, pots and pans, seven mobile chargers, and bicycle repair tools.
Both Zhang and Wangwang slept in their tent every night during the cycle tour and mostly cooked their meals themselves using the supplies they packed.
Zhang and Wangwang’s journey started in Guangyuan, Sichuan, and has taken them through Mianyang and Chengdu before they reached their destination in Chongqing. They will take the same route when they go back home.
While he received major criticisms online for subjecting his son to intense training for the past year, Zhang denied that what he is doing has had any kind of negative impact on the young boy.
“I don’t care what others say. I hope this makes him into a tough person. Anyway, this is better than playing games at home,” the father said.
“When Wangwang says he is too tired to continue traveling, I ask him to wash his face with cold water to energize himself. But ultimately, it‘s up to him,” he continued.
This isn’t the first time Zhang has been scrutinized for his treatment to his son. Last year, media reports emerged detailing how the boy’s father subjected him to lifting sandbags, doing push-ups, running, and other intense workouts that he had to perform every day.
Pictures of the boy, who was only 5 at the time, balancing on tightrope also surfaced on social media, going viral. However, the one that really raised a few eyebrows is the screenshot from one of his live streams where he showed Wangwang downing bottles of beers with him.
At the time, people were worried about the boy’s health.
“It will affect his development, his intellectual development,” one interviewee told China Report on June 9.
“On a hot day, I and my child share a bottle. I drink more and he drinks less, I don’t think it’s a problem if he drinks less,” Zhang stated.
Ever since then, many netizens criticized the father for his very unique education methods. And just like now, he was unfazed by all the negative comments he received online.
“Some people say I use my son to get public attention. I don’t mind,” he said. “My only hope is that Wangwang can grow up safely and has a better mentality when he is faced with inequity in the future.”
As for the safety of his son, Zhang said that he’s always concerned about it, as well as his health. He also keeps a close eye in Wangwang’s interest regarding the training.
“So long as he shows interest, I will play with him. If he does not want to do wire-walking one day but turns to soccer or basketball, I will be supportive all the same,” the father said via People’s Daily.
While his intentions with the intense workout are good – to teach him how to be a strong person in both mind and body – his methods, particularly the alcohol drinking part, are certainly unorthodox.
What do you think? Should this father slide, or should he face criminal charges? Share your thoughts below.