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Film explores China’s militaristic boot camps for Internet-addicted kids

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

China is the first country to brand Internet addiction as a behavioral disorder, and it has set up hundreds of military-style camps where addicts are locked up to be deprogrammed.

Internet obsession has been a growing concern in Asia. In 2012, an 18-year-old Taiwanese man died after playing Diablo III for 40 uninterrupted hours. In 2011, a Chinese man collapsed and died in an gaming parlor after spending months living there.

Filmmakers of the documentary "Web Junkies" examined for four months the Daxing Camp in Beijing — one of China's first of many rehab correctional facilities, the New York Post reported.

The crew witnessed that most of the teens were forced to enroll by their parents or government officials. Most of them are males and wear camouflage uniforms. The three- to four-month program typically involves physical training, medication, therapy sessions and nutrition control, the report said.

Daxing claims to have a 70 percent success rate in "curing" children of Internet addiction. It was the first of its kind but there are now reportedly more than 400 in China and many have cropped up in South Korea.

Criticism of these types of camps often highlight a 2009 incident in which counselors at Qihang Salvation Training Camp, an illegally run facility in rural China, reportedly beat to death Deng Sanshan, who was being treated for video game and Internet addiction.

Qihang Salvation has since been shut down, the Post said.

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