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Girl, 6, loses speech after long confinement to hencoop

A SIX-YEAR-OLD girl in rural southwest China has become aphasic, losing the ability to use or understand language after being confined naked by her grandmother to a hencoop for six months.

Local government officials visited the girl's home in Longtan Town of Chongqing Municipality's Fuling District and freed her 10 days ago after the girl was discovered by a passer-by, Chongqing Evening News reported today.

The girl is unable to speak and appears retarded, the newspaper said. Neighbors said she used to be a lovely girl who could speak clearly, according to the report.

Her widowed grandmother Guo Shouchang, 63, started to confine her to a bamboo hencoop built by her boyfriend Yu Bohua, 57, about six months ago, Guo told the newspaper.

Yu said he had tried to prevent Guo from confining the girl, but Guo didn't listen.

The girl's father, who was working outside the hometown, left her to the grandmother three years ago when her mother died, according to Guo.

Guo felt helpless having to take care of the girl alone while also working in the field and she became even more annoyed because the girl often soiled her clothing with excrement.

She made Guo's already poor life even tougher, Guo complained.

To make her life easier, Guo confined the girl to the hencoop and blocked its exit with a 20-kilogram stone.

The girl lived on potatoes and other food fed by neighbors as the grandmother didn't even put a bowl in the coop.

Before confining the girl in the coop, Guo had confined her to the kitchen for some months, Guo disclosed.

The girl is still living with Guo after government officials warned Guo against any more abuse. But the negative psychological impact of the confinement will last a long time on the girl, psychologists pointed out.


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