Mutiny on the Boot Camp: Internet Addicts Revolt in China
Fourteen young Chinese Internet enthusiasts, aged 15 to 22, were fed up and just couldn’t deal with it any more. Unhappy with the physical workouts, excessive discipline, and, most likely, lack of Internet, they tied up their instructor and escaped the facility.
After that, things didn’t work out so well. They were caught by the police after failing to pay the fare for a taxi they used to get far, far away from that evil, evil place. Since then, thirteen have already been sent back to rehabilitation centers.
Internet addiction is apparently somewhat common in China, according to the report from The Global Times:
There are as many as 24 million adolescents addicted to the Internet, and almost half of them are obsessed with online games, according to data released by the China Youth Association for Network Development early this year.
And while the notion of these fourteen Internet-addicted kids staging a mutiny is somewhat amusing, the situation they were escaping from is anything but. According to the aforelinked Global Times report and this one as well, multiple deaths have occurred at these rehabilitation camps, and one camp was even reported to use shock treatment on its patients. Since then, violence and shock therapy have been banned in all such programs, but the habit could be hard to break for those in charge. There’s really no way of knowing just how bad these mutineers had it.
Several of the parents had strong negative reactions to their children’s escape, and several refused to take them home, insisting they be sent right back to a facility. And while I understand that any addiction can take an immense toll on the addict and his or her family, an addiction so physically harmless as the Internet and online gaming must have a better potential solution. One that doesn’t put China’s youth in physical danger.