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GUANGZHOU, CHINA - A video clip showing a young girl being flung and kicked by a teaching assistant at a children's rehabilitation centre in Guangzhou, China has sparked outrage and sympathy among netizens.
The clip was first uploaded and shared by local Chinese media in Sep this year, and shows four-year-old Qiu Yaoyao (not her real name), who is reportedly autistic, being abused by the older woman after the little girl did not cooperate during a daily exercise routine.
The woman is identified as a 30-year-old staff member of the centre, which is a day care centre that takes in autistic and disabled children to teach them life skills and independent living.
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In the clip, she cen be seen holding up Yaoyao by her hands and instructing her to stand. But when the little girl does not obey instructions, she forcefully throws Yaoyao onto the floor behind her. The woman then proceeds to kick at the unresponsive little girl as she lays on the floor. All this while, other staff can be seen in the footage, but they do not interfere.
But as Yaoyao continues to lie on the floor, the woman picks her up again - this time, by her ankles - and throws her over in a 360 degree flip.
After realising that Yaoyao is unconscious, the woman asks her colleagues for help, and they bring the little girl to the hospital for emergency treatment. A Guangzhou newspaper reported last week the little girl has since undergone neurosurgery, and is able to sit, but she cannot stand yet. Her speech is also impaired.
Yaoyao's father, who was interviewed, told media that he was informed that his daughter was hospitalised after an accident, but the rehabilitation centre's staff did not tell him that she was beaten. But he became suspicious due to the serious nature of her injuries, and asked to view footage of his daughter at the centre. The accident then came to light, and he made a police report.
Local media further reported that the teaching assistant has since been charged with assault and battery, and has offered to make payment 200,000 yuan to the family for the girl's medical expenses. Separately, the rehabilitation centre also offered monetary compensation to help pay for Yaoyao's medical treatment of more than 800,000 yuan.
The YouTube video has been viewed more than 80,000 times and garnered comments attacking the staff's barbaric treatment of a vulnerable victim. The incident has generated tens of thousands of comments from the online Chinese community, with even celebrities and writers condemning such barbaric acts that occur in China's education system, especially towards disabled children who are particularly vulnerable.
The video clip has also been highlighted in international media, and brings into focus how autism is still largely underestimated by Chinese doctors.