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Speech rehab center fires 3 teachers accused of abusing children with disabilities

By Wang Jian in Nanchang and Zhao Xinying in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-26 07:03

A rehabilitation center in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, that was accused of abusing children with disabilities has been suspended, a local association for people with disabilities said on Monday.

The Nanchang Disabled Persons Federation said a task force has been formed to assist public security authorities as they look into the incident.

"We will deal with the incident in a transparent way and make the investigation results public in a timely manner," the federation said.

Yu Ying, secretary-general of the federation, said three teachers at the Nanchang Outlook Language Rehabilitation and Training Center suspected of abusing children have been fired.

Before that, a video clip exposed by local media showed some staff members at a rehabilitation center slapping the faces of children who were receiving treatment at the center and beating them with sticks.

The children, who were unable to hear or speak, struggled to express their anger and grief.

The center is a four-story building in the northern part of Nanchang. It was established in 2001 and was licensed as a social service organization in 2010. It accepted preschool children with hearing or speaking disabilities and charged 18,000 to 28,000 yuan ($2,600 to $4,100) per child annually.

The clip went viral online and caused an uproar among netizens, with many criticizing the center as "ruthless and merciless".

Internet users also called for an investigation and punishment for the child abusers.

The Nanchang Disabled Persons Federation said in the announcement that it was sorry to hear about the incident and apologized sincerely to the children and their parents.

"We'll conduct an overall inspection of all children's rehabilitation centers across the city to ensure the rights of people with disabilities and to avoid similar incidents from happening again," it said.

Tong Xiaojun, director of a research institute dealing with juveniles and children, affiliated with China Youth University of Political Studies, said rehabilitation centers are different from ordinary schools or training agencies as they cater specifically to children with disabilities.

"These children need special care and protection, and rehabilitation centers should be held responsible for their safety," she said.

Supervisors at the centers, including local federations, should draft regulations to ensure that the centers are behaving properly in educating and protecting the children, she said.

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