Parents of five 10-year-old boys allegedly bullied violently by being strangled, burnt with boiling water, and having detergent poured down their noses, say the perpetrators are yet to be brought to justice.
The boys who were left without adult supervision at a sports boarding school were also burned with hot irons, beaten, and had egg yolk poured into their noses over a five-day period last year, with at least two suffering serious damage to their hearing.
The parents also said their children have not received proper compensation from the school or the accused bullies’ families.
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It is the latest school bullying scandal to be exposed in China and reflects the difficulties in getting criminal charges laid due to the young age of the perpetrators.
The five boys were boarders at a sports school administered by Hebei Provincial Bureau’s Gymnastics, Heavyweight Lifting and Judo Sports Centre in Shijiazhuang.
The victims were allegedly abused by Liu Hao and Wang Jie, both of whom are 15-year-old students of the school, during a five-day period while their teachers took a group of students to a sporting event on September 24 last year, the Jinan Times reported on Sunday.
The duo allegedly poured boiling water on the boys’ heads. They also scalded the victims’ buttocks and burned their hair on their arms with hot iron blocks. Each victim was allegedly strangled repeatedly till they lost consciousness then again scalded with boiling water.
The boys were also hit with wooden sticks and mallets on the head and jabbed in the eyes. Cigarettes were used to burn their hands as well. They had their mouths and noses filled with egg yolk and washing liquid. Jie covered at least two boys’ heads with plastic bags for a period, the report said.
The victims were threatened with further abuse and told to lie to their parents and teachers and say the injuries were caused during fights between each other, however, the boys told their parents.
The children were taken to a hospital where doctors treated them for bruising, scarring, and scalding injuries to their faces, chests, backs, necks, and buttocks.
Some boys had burst blood vessels in their ears that has caused serious hearing damage. At least two boys stayed in the hospital for seven days.
Under pressure from the boys’ parents, the school launched an investigation. Hao and Jie then admitted to the bullying activities and were expelled.
Police declined to charge the accused perpetrators, because at the time the age of criminal responsibility in China was 16 years and older and because they said the injuries were not very serious. It has since been lowered to 14 years of age.
“Wang Jie’s father begged us to forgive his son but Liu Hao’s parents were indifferent, saying they grew up in this way, too. Their attitude made us disappointed,” Qiao Qizhen, mother of one of the victims, told the newspaper.
Wang Jie’s family signed an agreement on October 4 to pay a total of 450,000 yuan (US$69,000) to the five victims, promising to give the money by the end of the month. However, after paying 65,000 yuan (US$10,000), the father said he did not have any money left.
The parents said they are still in the process of suing the two perpetrators for compensation.
They said the school was also responsible because the boys were left unsupervised. The school said they could pay compensation only after obtaining approval from the provincial finance authority.
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