- The Washington Times - Friday, January 6, 2006

BEIJING (Agence France-Presse) — A mother in northern China chained her mentally ill son to a roofless shelter for 21 years because she was too poor to pay his medical costs and felt she had no other option, state press reported yesterday.

Photos in newspapers showed Wang Baozhu, 41, handcuffed and nearly naked, his face blackened and long hair matted in subfreezing weather as he tried to keep warm with a small fire and a tattered cotton coat.

Mr. Wang’s torment in chains in a mountain village in the north China province of Inner Mongolia finally ended after the local press recently publicized his case. He entered a hospital last week that diagnosed him as schizophrenic and offered him free medical treatment, the China Daily said.

“The greatest regret in my life is that I was too poor to afford better treatment for him,” Mr. Wang’s 71-year old mother, Ding Zhuanyun, told the China Daily.

“For 21 years I brought him food to eat and water to drink every day. My hair turned white, and I don’t know who will die first — me or my dear son.”

She said he began attacking people and destroying their home in the early 1980s. She said friends and neighbors had helped chain Mr. Wang to the shelter so he would not cause any more harm.

She said she had tried to give him clothes during the region’s harsh winters, but each time he threw them onto the nearby fire that was lit to keep him warm.

A fundraising drive organized by local press is trying to raise money to pay for Mr. Wang’s future medical costs, China Daily said.

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