An investigative report by Henan Television uncovering the abuse at an old folks home in Zhengzhou has shocked people in the provincial capital and sparked a nationwide outrage.
It all began when a taxi driver surnamed Wang decided to park himself one morning at 3.30am outside the Changleyuan Old Folks Home to catch a few winks. What sounded like the cries of an old man wafting from the convalescent home startled Wang, but he didn’t really know what to do. So the next morning, and for many early mornings afterwards, Wang decided to come back to the same spot.
Crossing over to the building opposite Changleyuan, Wang found an excellent vantage point from which to see what was going on inside the home. He discovered that each morning, at around 4am, a male nurse would turn on the lights, enter the rooms of some of the old folks, and physically abuse them. The loud cries of one old man begging the nurse to stop led Wang to tip off Henan TV’s City Channel, which then sent a crew to film the nightly goings-on undercover.
One evening, the nurse was seen forcing the old man to drink what appeared to be yellow liquid from a plastic bag. As the old man begs the nurse to stop, saying “It’s too salty”, the nurse would laugh and taunt him, asking, “Does it taste good?”
Another evening, the nurse was observed tying up the old man and physically hitting him on the knee.
To complete the investigation, the Henan TV journalist visited the home in the day, pretending to have parents that he wanted to have placed in the home. He was told by a woman of the “excellent service” provided by the home, and shown pictures of smiling, happy elderly folk. When asked why some of the old folk were bound in bed, the woman replied that only the temperamental, impossible ones were tied up, and that the way they were tied up ensured no physical harm was inflicted.
Immediately after the report was aired on television, police launched a swift crackdown on Changleyuan, arresting the nurse, a 62-year-old man by the name of Zheng Huanming, as well as the home’s legal representative. The local government also acted decisively, sacking the Civil Affairs Bureau chief for the district, along with the department head for elderly affairs under the bureau.
The 34 old folks that were housed at Changleyuan have also been re-homed to another eight old folks homes within the district.