By Sharon Kwok
In a programme named “Face to face”, CCTV conducted a close-up interview with Yan Yanhong, the 20-year-old kindergarten teacher in Zhejiang who was arrested for child abuse in October. The reporter began with the controversial Weibo photo of Yan lifting a screaming child up by his ears. Below is a relevant extract from the interview transcript (full Chinese transcript available here):
Reporter: What was the real situation?
Yan: At that time the kids were all watching TV, it was a spur of the moment idea.
Reporter: What was your intention?
Yan: It was for fun.
Reporter: The boy looked in pain from that picture, did you feel it?
Yan: I didn’t notice it at that time.
Reporter: Where was your attention then?
Yan: In having fun.
Reporter: Did the boy cry then?
Yan: Being lifted up like that, of course he did.
Reporter: Didn’t it hurt you to see him cry?
Yan: At that time it didn’t. It was just for the sake of taking the picture, then I let him go.
Reporter: How long did it last?
Yan: Only a few seconds.
Reporter: How long more did he cry after you put him down?
Yan: He stopped crying right away.
Reporter: And he’s ok?
Reporter: Didn’t anyone come stop you?
Yan: They didn’t know.
Reporter: But you let your colleague take that picture.
Yan: She did try to stop me at first, but I told her it’s just for fun and it’ll be ok, so she went ahead and took the picture.
The reporter went on to discuss another Weibo photo, which shows a child stuffed into a bin and is captioned by Yan “I threw him into it”. The relevant portion of the interview is as follows:
Reporter: What was the situation that made you do this?
Yan: He was picking rubbish from the bin to eat.
Reporter: Picking rubbish to eat?
Reporter: Did you stop him?
Yan: I did tell him not to do that.
Reporter: Then why did you still stuff him in?
Yan: I thought to myself, “he’s doing this again.” So I told him, “if you like to eat rubbish so much then go eat it.” Then I took a picture for fun again.
Reporter: Did the kindergarten provide instructions on what you can do and what you cannot do to kids?
Reporter: Did you ever consider what their parents’ reactions would be if they saw this?
Yan: I didn’t think about it at that time.
When asked what her motive behind all these was, Yan simply repeated that everything was “just for fun”. However she admitted that after all the public scrutiny and condemnation, she has learnt the seriousness of her mistake.
Two months after the incident, she received court notices of appearance from five parents, each demanding 50,000 yuan of mental injury solatium and a public apology. Coming from a poor family, Yan confessed she is unable to afford compensation. She said she is now ready to make a sincere apology, and hopes the parents can “slowly forgive her”.