China: Around The Nation

Two teachers sacked, school closed as police probe alleged abuse of autistic children

Surveillance camera footage appears to show youngsters being bound and dragged around the room

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 August, 2017, 3:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 August, 2017, 4:37pm

Police in Beijing are investigating claims that children with autism were mistreated by their teachers at a specialist learning centre in the city, local media reported.

The incident came to light last week after video footage appeared online of two teachers from the Senxi Education centre in Changping district apparently abusing their charges, The Beijing News reported on Tuesday.

The film runs for about 2½ minutes and appears to have been shot by a surveillance camera inside the school.

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In one clip, a teacher is seen dragging a child around the room by a cord attached to his wrists, while in another, a boy is told to perform dozens of sit-ups while his teacher chats with a colleague. A third youngster is shown with his hands tied behind his back while a teacher stretches and contorts his body.

An unnamed representative was quoted as saying that two teachers had been sacked as a result of the allegations and that the company was assisting police with their enquiries.

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The facility, which claims to be a specialist research institute and training centre for autistic children aged two to six has been closed pending further investigations, the report said.

The spokesperson said the centre had 41 children on its books but that 10 of them had been withdrawn after the video footage appeared online.

A parent surnamed Zhang was quoted as saying that he decided to take his son out of the school after seeing its “abnormal” methods. He added that he had been paying tuition fees of 9,400 yuan (US$1,400) a month.

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The video first appeared on Saturday on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter, and generated plenty of attention.

A Shanghai-based Weibo user said: “Don’t hurt the children ... they need to be treated with patience!”

A person based in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, added: “There should be more regulation of special education to ensure the trainers in this field are qualified.”