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August 1, 2013

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Camp organizers accused of child’s death

The parents of a six-year-old girl who died on Tuesday while attending a summer camp in a temple on Chongming Island are suing the organizers.

The little girl would have been seven-years-old yesterday.

The parents allege that the organizers delayed the girl’s treatment by failing to rush her to hospital in time, after she was running high fever at the camp.

Fang Liming, the father of the girl, said he sent his daughter, identified only as Yanyan, on June 26 to the camp which was being held at the Guangfu Temple in Chongming. He paid 4,000 yuan (US$652.37) for the Sinology camp that aimed to impart traditional Chinese values to the students.

On the wee hours of July 26, Fang, a resident of Baoshan District, received a call from the camp staff, saying Yanyan was admitted to hospital. Fang and his wife rushed to Baozhen Hospital on Chongming Island and discovered their daughter was extremely sick.

“She was running 41 degrees fever. Her face had turned pale and she was trembling,” Fang said. “She was unable to talk.”

Fang said he and his wife visited their daughter at the temple on July 21 and she looked healthy. She was their only child and was going to attend primary school this fall.

Fang was later told that Yanyan caught fever on July 23 afternoon. However, the camp organizers did not send her to hospital. Instead, they tried out traditional methods to bring the fever down like feeding her ginger soup and covering her with a heavy quilt.

When all their efforts failed, she was rushed to Baozhen Hospital on July 25, but they did not inform her parents until they were told that she was in danger. A very sick Yanyan was then moved to Xinhua Hospital in Yangpu District on the morning of July 26 but died at 9:47pm on Tuesday.

According to a Xinmin Evening News report, a camp staff said they didn’t send Yanyan to the hospital immediately because the traditional methods had worked on other children.

They could not explain why it did not work on Yanyan.

Fang said they learnt about the camp through a Buddhist friend of Yanyan’s mother. They had hoped Yanyan would get acquainted with traditional culture such as Three Character Primer and Disciples Regulation, which were used to educate children in ancient times.

Fang said his daughter had to get up as early as 4:30am to recite prayers, sit for meditation and be on diet every day.

Some 20 children were attending the camp.

The camp was organized by a 66-year-old woman surnamed Wen. When the camp staff were asked if Wen was qualified enough to organize such summer camps, they would only say that “the children are studying traditional culture.”

Fang said police are investigating the case.


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