A 12-year-old boy who was locked up with his mother in the house for the past eight years by his father is now hardly able to speak.
The boy, Yuan Jiankang, lives with his mother and 55-year-old father Yuan Liangquan in the Jimiao village of Jining city, Shandong province.
Yuan Liangguan said that his wife had no known illnesses when they married, but years later she “went mad” and was never cured. She isn’t able to communicate properly, and often mumbles and laughs to herself.
“She has remained this way for many years and I could never afford to send her to the hospital for treatment,” said Yuan Liangquan, who usually farms and does odd jobs to make a living.
“My son never drank a bit of his mom’s milk. I fed him with milk power,” said Yuan Liangquan. “After my mother died at 86, I had to take care of him all by myself. He was only two months old at that time.”
When Yuan Liangguan had to leave for work, he would lock his son up with his wife to keep him from running away. When he came back, he often brought food that was given to the family by concerned villagers.
The boy drinks from a sewage container when he’s thirsty.
Due to a lack of normal communication and education, Yuan Jiankang isn’t able to look after himself or speak, except for some occasional mumbling.
“He can only say ‘daddy’, ‘mommy’, but not all the time,” Yuan Liangquan said.
The boy doesn’t have any playmates because villagers have banned their children from playing with him.
The boy’s mom laughs to herself while crouching on a bed full of dirty clothes.
Yuan Liangquan told reporters that thanks to the help of the local government and some good-hearted residents, he doesn’t have lock his son up anymore. The boy was recently accepted to a mental disability center in Jinan city.
Yuan Jiankang’s dog is his only playmate, and follows him everywhere he goes.
“My kid isn’t stupid, but just needs education,” according to Yuan Liangguan, who said he only recently realized the importance of educating his son.
Zhang Ailing, a worker at the mental disability center, told reporters that young Yuan Jiankang is already past the the most crucial stage for the development of social functioning, but there is still a chance that he can recover.
“I’ll try my best to help him and to give him back the happy childhood that he deserves,” Zhang said.
By Lucy Liu
[Images via NetEase]