It’s unclear from reports whether or not Deng Senshan (left) was a gamer. It seems likely, however, given his age and the fact that many of those confined to Chinese Internet addiction camps are there for alleged obsessive play of online games.
Tragically, the Global Times reports that the 16-year-old was beaten to death by three camp teachers on Sunday for failing to run fast enough. His bereaved father, Deng Fei, spoke of his son’s death:
My son was very healthy and was not a criminal. He just had an Internet addiction when I left him at the camp. The police informed us that our child had died on Monday morning. We can’t believe our only son was beaten to death.
The teachers promised me that they would not use any physical punishment on my son when I dropped him off… We’re planning to sit before the local government for a protest tomorrow. If they don’t give us justice, we will go to the camp to confront them.
Deng Fei paid 7,000 yuan – US$1,024 – for his son to spend one month at the camp.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that Chinese netizens are outraged by Deng Senshan’s murder:
Many [Netizens] questioned the fairly new diagnosis of “Internet addiction” as a mental disorder.
“Internet addiction? It’s a term made up by some so-called ‘experts’, how come these parents believe what they’ve said?” said one commente… “[It] should be the parents’ problem. Why do they always exaggerate their kids’ hobbies, turning them into addictions or problems?” said another…
One netizen called for greater tolerance of Web habits: “I am sure only China has such a term: Internet addiction…. Why can’t its people accept new ideas and new things with an open mind?”
GamePolitics readers may recall that China recently outlawed electric shock therapy as a means of treating teenage video game addicts.