When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

At China Young Mental Development Base
At China Young Mental Development Base
Gabriele Battaglia

BEIJING — A military-style boot camp in Beijing's suburbs is at the front line of China's battle against Internet addiction, a disorder that the government claims is afflicting millions of its children. The camp run by an army colonel is where desperate parents are sending their children in the hopes of weaning them off online games, cybersex and chats.

The China Young Mental Development Base in Daxing district uses a blend of therapy and military drills to treat children such as 18-year-old Wang Dewei, the son of middle-class officials in the Hebei province. He says they forced him to come here.

"I had constant arguments with my parents, and instead of heading home after school I used to sneak off to an Internet café," he says. "The first time I saw the psychologists I started crying because my parents had tricked me. They told me we were going to Beijing on a day trip and instead they took me here. They just want me to study so I can make money."

Center director Dr. Tao Ran says most of the patients here come from wealthy families. Treatment costs more than $1,000 a month.

"They are generally the children of government officials or businessmen," Tao says. "They are from the wealthy middle class that puts a lot of pressure on their children. This creates conflicts and inferiority complexes."

Until recently, most of the children here were about 18 years old. But now the center is seeing children as young as 12 being sent here, and 90% of them are boys.

Keep reading... Show less
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The Dead And Disappeared: A Village Emerges From 72 Days Of Russian Occupation

Russian forces have been pushed out of the area around Kharkiv. Villages that were occupied for two months are free once more — but utterly destroyed. And thousands of people have disappeared without a trace.

Kharkiv and the surrounding villages faced weeks of constant Russian shelling.

Alfred Hackensberger

TSYKRUNY — Andriy Kluchikov uses a walking stick, but is otherwise fairly sprightly for a 94-year-old. Under his black wool hat, Kluchikov seems fearless as he surveys his hometown in northeastern Ukraine. “The missiles don't scare me,” he says with a smile. “I have slept in my own bed every night and never went down into the basement.”

As for the two-meter-wide bomb crater that has appeared in his garden, between the vegetable patch and the greenhouse with its shattered plastic roof, Kluchikov almost seems proud. “No one can intimidate me,” he says. “Not even the Russians.”

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

In the early days of the war, in February, Russian artillery almost completely destroyed this village of Tsyrkuny, near Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city. Only a few houses, including his own, were left undamaged. Shortly afterwards, Russian troops marched into the village and occupied it for 72 days. It was not until early this week that the Ukrainian army was able to liberate Tsyrkuny and many other areas to the north of the country’s second-largest city, Kharkiv.

It is the Ukrainians’ most successful counter-offensive so far. They are thought to have pushed the invading troops back almost to the Russian border. “The offensive is gaining momentum,” according to the independent American thinktank Institute for the Study of War. “It has forced Russian troops on the defensive and has successfully alleviated artillery pressure on Kharkiv City.”

In the modern city of Kharkiv, home to around 1.5 million residents, the relief has been palpable over the last few days. Restaurants and cafes have reopened. People are walking and riding bikes in the parks, and couples are strolling hand in hand, enjoying the warm spring sunshine. You can still hear the artillery, but it is now many miles away.

Keep reading... Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch Video Show less
MOST READ