Photo of Chinese boy held by ears sparks outrage

AFP, BEIJING

Sun, Oct 28, 2012 - Page 5

Two teachers have been detained in China after a picture posted online showing one of them lifting a screaming boy by his ears sparked widespread anger, local police said.

The teacher who is alleged to have held the boy, in the most recent of a series of violent acts against schoolchildren in China, told state media that she did it “for fun” after asking her colleague to take the picture.

“She didn’t approve of what I was doing initially, but I told her that it was just for fun and would take just a second,” the woman, who was named as Yan Yanhong (顏艷紅), told the Web site of magazine China Newsweek.

Netizens in China reacted with fury to the image, which was taken at the Blue Peacock Kindergarten in Wenling in China’s eastern Zhejiang Province, and posted online on Wednesday.

The incident quickly become a hot topic on Chinese microblogging sites and remained the second-most talked about issue on Friday with more than four million messages.

“When you look at yourself picking up this child with a frightened expression of pain, do you not feel bad?” one poster said.

“This is obviously child abuse, but it is not a crime under the existing criminal law and she cannot be punished,” another said.

Yan, who was said by state news agency Xinhua to be a 20-year-old unlicensed teacher, was detained on Thursday for “criminal behavior,” Wenling police said in an online statement.

The teacher who took the pictures has been detained for seven days, the statement added.

A commentary by state-run news agency Xinhua blamed the lack of investment in nurseries for the incident.

“Similar scandals have been reported in increasing numbers in recent years, exposing a lack of supervision and public investment in preschool education,” the commentary said.