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August 29, 2009

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Probe opened, coaches held after boy dies in camp ordeal

A CITY government in central China has started an inquiry into a 14-year-old boy's death allegedly caused by being beaten by coaches in a military summer camp.

Yao Jian, of Yichang City, Hubei Province, died three days after his father, Yao Jun, sent him to the military summer camp.

Yao Jian was battered by eight coaches with clubs one night before his death, according to camp mates.

Zhang Yangyong, the manager of the camp, told the father there was "nothing to worry about" after charging the family 720 yuan (US$105.40) in camp fees, Shanghai Evening Post reported yesterday.

The coaches in question were placed in custody by police over the death, according to the report. None of them has so far admitted to having beaten Yao Jian.

The parents said they sent their son to the camp to help him lose some weight, according to the report.

The manager of the military camp promised every parent a program combining some military training, some fun and excitement designed to offer their children a rigorous and more meaningful summer.

Parents of 53 children believed the hype and hoped they would see a refreshed child after the six-day camp.

Yao Jun called the camp every day and was reassured each time that things were going fine with his son.

However, Zhang called Yao Jian's parents three days after the camp began and asked them to come to a hospital, where they found their son's body covered in cuts and bruises.

The parents then found out that a two-day camp march had been undertaken to a nearby city.

Yao Jian was "beaten up" if he lagged behind in the march, children from the camp said.

Police confirmed 14 days after his death in an autopsy report that Yao Jian was fatally beaten .

The death of Yao Jian was the third case in a series of teenage tragedies that have happened at summer camps in August in China.

A boy, 16, was beaten to death in an unlicensed training camp in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region by teachers on August 1. He was sent there by his parents to treat his online addiction, according to previous reports.

Teachers at a summer camp in Sichuan Province beat a boy, 14, and left him with broken ribs, kidney failure, and multiple other injuries.


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