A couple have locked up their daughter at home for 10 years. Qu Zeli, now 17, had become retarded because of her treatment, the Beijing Youth Daily said. Zeli was seven when she was last allowed by her parents to leave the house in Chongqing, Sichuan province. Then, she was a normal, intelligent child. But following her imprisonment, the girl 'still has the mind of a young child', the paper said. Zeli remains inside the house, behind windows covered with heavy steel bars. The girl frequently threw things out of the windows and called out to passers-by. Occasionally, other children took her things to eat, the newspaper said. Neighbours eventually reported the situation to the head of the factory where Zeli's parents worked. But the boss did not have the authority to make them send her to school. Her father claimed it was Zeli who did not want to leave the house. The mother denied they had stopped her mixing with other youngsters because they feared she would be bullied. 'Our daughter is sick,' said the mother. The neighbours contacted the newspaper after failing to persuade Zeli's parents to send her to school. Zeli was said to be afraid to leave the house. It was unlikely she would ever have the chance to go to school. The development of children's rights are still at an early stage on the mainland. Beyond the factory boss' attempts, children in such cases have no other recourse to legal or political intervention. Children should attend school for eight years but millions do not, because of poverty, lack of schools and the need to work.