Internet-Addicted Chinese Youth Break Out of Boot Camp


A group of young internet addicts stuck at a “boot camp” to help cure them of their habit staged a daring jailbreak, fleeing home (where their parents promptly sent them back).

It was like The Great Escape, but instead of Steve McQueen on a motorcycle, it was Chinese nerds who couldn’t log off. And instead of escaping from a Nazi prison camp, it was a “boot camp” designed to help cure inmates of their internet addiction. So okay, maybe it wasn’t like The Great Escape at all.

Even considering that there weren’t any Nazis involved, it was still pretty daring: 14 youths aged 15-22, who were interred at Huai’an Internet Addiction Treatment Centre in China’s province of Jiangsu, finally decided they’d had enough of their Google-free life last week. They overpowered their supervisor, tied him to the bed, and ran for it.

And they might have gotten away with it, too – if they hadn’t stiffed a taxi driver on his fare. The group was apprehended by the police and returned to their homes. Of the 14 escapees, 13 have thus far been shipped back to the boot camp, making their escape attempt for naught. Which actually does make it like The Great Escape after all, huh? (Whoops, spoilers.)

China has struggled with internet addiction lately, blaming the ‘net for what it does to the nation’s youth. According to the China Youth Association for Network Development, 24 million Chinese suffer from some degree of internet addiction. Of course, the camps designed to help rehabilitate them of their addiction aren’t necessarily any better – last August, a 15-year-old boy was beaten to death at one of the unofficial camps in Guanxi province.

Can you really blame them for trying to get the hell out?

(Yahoo, via Kotaku)

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