Allegations of abuse including drugging and molestation at a Chinese kindergarten are rocking the nation's child care industry.
Parents allege abuse at Chinese kindergarten
01:43 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

One teacher arrested for poking children who refused naps with needles

Case has been subjected to heavy censorship on the Chinese internet

Beijing CNN  — 

A child abuse scandal that has rocked China took a shocking turn Tuesday, as police accused two parents for fabricating tales of their children being drugged and molested at a Beijing kindergarten.

A police statement claimed that one father coaxed his child into saying they’d been given pills and that one mother, who’d told reporters her daughter was inspected by naked strange men, had made up her story and was ready to clarify her words and apologize to the public.

The police did not say why the parents lied.

Doctors and experts examined the alleged victims and found no indication of molestation, the police said. Police claimed to have recovered 113 hours of surveillance camera footage from the RYB Xintiandi kindergarten and found no evidence of child abuse.

The outside of RYB Education New World kindergarten in Beijing.

Hard drives in which videos had been stored were damaged because a control room employee “often forcibly turned them off after school hours” to keep the noise level down, the police said in the statement.

Teacher detained

Police had previously detained a 22-year-old female teacher for her alleged role in the reported child abuse. She was said to have poked children who refused to take a nap with sewing needles as “punishment,” according to the latest statement. Chinese police usually withhold the full names of suspects. They gave her surname as Liu.

Police said they had also detained another woman for “rumor mongering,” accusing her of posting fabricated information online about the involvement of military personnel in the incident, which prompted an unusual denial from the country’s defense ministry.

RYB Education representatives ring the New York Stock Exchange opening bell on the company's first day of trading in September.

RYB Education, the Beijing-based and New York-listed company that runs the kindergarten, apologized again to the children and to the public in a statement released Wednesday, expressing “sadness” and “shame.” The company stressed its policy of “zero-tolerance” regarding child abuse and vowed to take concrete action to earn the public’s forgiveness.

“If children were harmed in our facility, we will not evade responsibility,” it said. “We will correct our mistakes, shoulder our responsibility and bear the legal consequences.”

Over the weekend, the company said it fired both the detained teacher and the head of the kindergarten, promising to provide psychological counseling to the victims, upgrade safety measures in its facilities and set up an independent supervision system.

CNN’s repeated phone calls to the company went unanswered Wednesday and attempts to reach the parents were unsuccessful.

Multiple allegations

Amid city-wide kindergarten safety checks, Beijing’s education authority has also announced a plan to hire an inspector at every kindergarten.

But the latest developments don’t appear to have quelled intense nationwide debates about the incident. It has sparked public outrage, parental soul-searching, government pledges and widespread online censorship.

The story broke last week after numerous parents accused RYB Xintiandi of drugging and molesting their children.

In a video posted on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, the mother who police now say was lying, said at least eight parents told the authorities that their young children had fallen victim to abuse and molestation while attending the school.

The video was viewed millions of times before being deleted from Weibo.

People stand in front of the main gate of the RYB Education New World kindergarten in Beijing on November 24, 2017.