A 16-year-old teen living with mental disabilities has been chained up by her parents in a cabin used to store corn for the past five years in Jilin province.
Xiao Shuang, who had never physically harmed anyone, worried neighbors after running away in the woods on various occasions, according to NetEase.
“Everyone in the village had to look for her for the whole night,” a neighbor told reporters. He added that chaining her up was for her own safety.
The teen’s 67-year-old father, surnamed Zhu, said that she’d once disappeared for almost nine days before a neighbor heard her voice and located her.
“It is a big forest. If she were to run away again, we may not be able to find her,” Zhu told reporters. He said chaining her up was a difficult but necessary decision.
Xiao Shuang’s behavioral disorders have been attributed to her being pushed from a tall platform by her brother when she was just three years old.
“She looked as though she was dead, but soon she came back to life. Her brain, however, might had been injured,” her 57-year-old mother said.
The vice-president of the Changchun City Mental Hospital said in reports that if the teen received proper treatment, she would be less likely to run away and thus would not need to be chained up.
Such situations are sadly not entirely unheard of among families in rural China who typically don’t have access to mental health care. Earlier this year, a 24-year-old woman in Hubei province was found locked in a deserted house by her parents after suffering a “mental breakdown”.
By Joyce Ng