China: Around The Nation

Father whose wife allegedly beat 6-year-old son, leaving him in a coma, goes missing

Zhao Liang had been released on bail after being arrested along with the boy’s stepmother in northwest China

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 7:08pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 7:08pm

The father of a six-year-old boy whose stepmother allegedly beat him, leaving him in a coma in hospital, has been missing for a month, according to Chinese media.

Zhao Liang had been released on bail after he and his wife, Pengpeng’s stepmother, who was not named by the media, were arrested in the city of Weinan, northwest China, in March, online news portal Red Star News reported on Monday. The woman was arrested on suspicion of child abuse and is still in custody. It was unclear what, if any, charges Zhao was facing.

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Nicknamed Pengpeng, the boy has been in a coma for more than four months after being taken to hospital in March with extensive head injuries, the report said.

He has since had surgery to ease the pressure on his skull from a build-up of blood.

His mother, Chai Xiaoyuan, told the news portal that the boy’s father, Zhao, went missing on July 8 after Pengpeng had been transferred to a hospital in Shanghai.

Zhao left the hospital, telling Chai he was going to register the boy with another specialist facility in the city, but did not return and has not been in contact since.

The family has reported him missing with authorities in Shanghai and Shaanxi, the report said.

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“I must remain strong, my son needs me,” a tearful Chai told the news portal.

Zhao and Chai divorced in 2015, with Zhao and his new wife taking custody of the child.

Chai told the news portal that her son had complained to her that he was subjected to regular beatings by his stepmother.

One of their neighbours meanwhile told news outlet in June that he could hear the boy being mistreated next door. “The moment his stepmother woke up, Pengpeng would start having a bad day,” the neighbour was quoted as saying.