Chinese authorities have responded to public concern about a mentally-ill woman who is kept in a hut with an iron chain around her neck by her husband and denied she had been kidnapped after rumours swirled online. The woman, surnamed Yang, became the source of international concern after a video clip posted on Douyin two weeks ago revealed her living conditions in Fengxian county, Jiangsu, eastern China. The video showed the woman living alone in a flimsy shed, dressed in thin clothes in freezing temperatures of as low as 0 degrees Celsius and eating poorly. She was chained by her husband, who is surnamed Dong. The husband and the couple’s eight children, aged between 2 and 22 years old, live in a house nearby. Although the vlogger who shot the video said his intention was to use public opinion to force the husband to treat his wife well, many called on local authorities to investigate and suggested Dong be arrested for abusing Yang. After the public outrage, local police and a women’s rights association jointly investigated the case at the end of January. Yang was then sent to a local hospital, where she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. On Monday, authorities in Xuzhou that administer the county said since both Yang’s parents had apparently died, and police were unable to confirm her identity using DNA tests, state broadcaster CCTV reported. China moves to kill romantic gay-themed ‘boys’ love’ dramas Dong remains under investigation and police said the results will be released at “an appropriate time”. Police later found the couple’s marriage application documents which mentioned Yagu Village, Fugong county in southwestern Yunnan province. Officers were sent to investigate and subsequently confirmed that Yang is originally from Yagu. Yang’s age and her real name remain unclear other than the nickname Xiaohuamei, given to her by her husband. Records revealed she had previously married a man in Baoshan, Yunnan, in 1994. She returned to her village two years later after they divorced. Villagers said she displayed signs of being mentally ill at that time. Her relatives said a woman surnamed Sang who is from the same village then took her to seek medical treatment in Jiangsu where Sang’s husband lived. Sang told police that Yang’s mother asked her to take Yang for treatment in Jiangsu and to find her a husband, the report said. But when the two women arrived in Donghai county, Jiangsu, Yang disappeared. Sang said she didn’t report her disappearance to police, nor did she inform Yang’s parents. Police said they plan to release the details of an investigation into Sang. Doctors told CCTV that Yang, has only nine teeth left, with the rest lost due to severe gum infection, rather than what many internet users had speculated that she was beaten by her husband. According to a statement by Fengxian county, Yang and Dong registered for marriage in 1998 after Yang was picked up by Dong’s father who found her begging on the street. When they registered the marriage, the local civil affairs officials didn’t check Yang’s identity. Dong said in the first few years, Yang was able to cope with daily life, despite her mental illness. However, since June last year, he claimed her illness has worsened. He said she often smashed things and attacked elderly people and children. Dong said he had restricted his wife with the iron chain to prevent her from hurting others. He said he did this temporarily, planning to remove the chain when her condition improved. Dong ignored the local family planning authority’s birth control order after his first two children were born, the authority said. The couple have seven sons and one daughter who is the youngest child in the family. Dong, 56, said in a previous video taken by the vlogger that he was often looked down upon by other villagers for having married at a late age which was why he had so many children. Despite the efforts by local authorities to reassure them, many internet users said they are not convinced by the investigation so far. “There are too many questionable points. What’s her real name, or age? She doesn’t remember her name, only her home village’s name? I don’t believe what the government said,” wrote one person on Weibo.