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In China, Electric Shocks To 'Cure' Internet Addiction

Internet Cafe in Beijing, China
Internet Cafe in Beijing, China

LINYI — Dr. Yang Yongxin first garnered attention a decade ago when he opened the "Young People Risk Behavior Intervention Center" in this city in the eastern province of Shandong. The "risk behavior" in question was not drugs or sex, but wasting time online.

The Nanfang Daily reports that Yang, who used to work in the psychiatric ward of Linyi People's Hospital, claimed he could cure children addicted to the internet by combining "psychological, medical, physical, occupational and recreational" methods.

What Yang calls "physical therapy" was in fact electroconvulsive therapy , an electric shock treatment that used to be popular for serious depressive disorders, mania and catatonia.

Yang said that after connecting electrodes to the temples or fingers of patients, "the electrical stimulation will cause disgust for the Internet," the Nanfang Daily reports.

"This kind of pain cannot be described in any language," said one of the youngsters sent there. Another said it was like "being hit on the temples by a high-frequency vibration hammer."

Some have compared the treatment at the center to concentration camp s as teens are required to wear uniforms and report others who don't follow rules. Apart from receiving the electroshock treatments, the patients are also administered unspecified drugs three to four times a day.

After a 2009 CCTV documentary exposed the practice, shock therapy was officially banned by China's Ministry of Health. However, the Nanfang Daily reports that Yang continues his practice and that the so-called treatment is now administered in other parts of China .

The People's Daily blames the trend on poor judgment by families. "It's the parents who are insane but it's their children who take the medicine."

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Putinism Without Putin? USSR 2.0? Clean Slate? How Kremlin Succession Will Play Out

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, political commentators have consistently returned to the question of Putin's successor. Russia expert Andreas Umland foreshadows a potentially tumultuous transition, resulting in a new power regime. Whether this is more or less democratic than the current Putinist system, is difficult to predict.

Gathering in Moscow to congratulate Russia's President Vladimir Putin on his birthday.

Andreas Umland


STOCKHOLM — The Kremlin recently hinted that Vladimir Putin may remain as Russia's president until 2030. After the Constitution of the Russian Federation was amended in 2020, he may even extend his rule until 2036.

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However, it seems unlikely that Putin will remain in power for another decade. Too many risks have accumulated recently to count on a long gerontocratic rule for him and his entourage.

The most obvious and immediate risk factor for Putin's rule is the Russian-Ukrainian war. If Russia loses, the legitimacy of Putin and his regime will be threatened and they will likely collapse.

The rapid annexation of Crimea without hostilities in 2014 will ultimately be seen as the apex of his rule. Conversely, a protracted and bloody loss of the peninsula would be its nadir and probable demise.

Additional risk factors for the current Russian regime are related to further external challenges, for example, in the Caucasus. Other potentially dangerous factors for Putin are economic problems and their social consequences, environmental and industrial disasters, and domestic political instability.

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