A father punished his 12-year-old son for stealing by stripping him naked and parading him through the streets of his hometown in China.
On June 30, passersby in the town of Zhaotong in China’s southwestern Yunnan province were shocked and outraged to see a 12-year-old boy completely naked and tied to a motorcycle. The boy was covered in welts and was shaking from the cold, according to South China Morning Post.
According to the father, the public humiliation was meant to be a form of punishment. He said that his son stole around $15 from the family, spent the night out with friends and skipped school.
The father also admitted to regularly beating his child as punishment, adding that the boy is “frequently naughty.”
Onlookers intervened, and demanded the father remove his jacket and give it to the boy, who had nothing to protect himself from the rain. The father complied, but his son refused to take the jacket, instead telling the crowd to stop talking according to The Star Online of Malaysia.
Eventually, the father untied his son, put him on his motorcycle and drove away.
The South China Morning Post reported that the father is a migrant worker from the Guizhou province, but did not release his name or any other identifying information.
Police confirmed they are aware of the situation and that an investigation is underway.
Viewers of the video were astounded at the father’s form of punishment, with one woman saying she burst into tears after witnessing what happened to the child.
According to The New York Times, harsh discipline in China is widespread and many practice the tradition of “dama jiaoyu,” or an education through hitting and cursing.
Figures on child abuse are scarce, but in a national survey of 3,543 people by the China Law Society, 72 percent of participants admitted they were beaten as a child.
Another survey of elementary school students in China’s Shaanxi Province found that 60 percent of children were beaten, verbally abused or deprived of food as forms of punishment. Although physical punishment in Chinese schools was outlawed in 1986, disciplining children through emotional and physical abuse is still a widespread problem, one well ingrained in Chinese culture.
“The problem is linked to culture,” said Xuesong He, professor of social work at East China University of Science and Technology. “Chinese culture is very tolerant of it, so there’s a lot of corporal punishment in families and schools.”
He wants to educate parents, especially those in rural communities, on how to properly discipline and raise children in the modern world.
“It’s especially important to educate parents,” he said, “to tell people that there are other ways to raise children. In the villages, a lot of families just don’t know of any methods except ‘dama.’”