Three Chinese teens were arrested for their roles in kidnapping and torture of their classmates. The case has triggered discussion on unsupervised Chinese children studying abroad.
It has also turned spotlight on the “parachute kids” from China who go abroad to pursue their studies while their parents remain back home, reported South China Morning Post. The court gave the three 19-year-old Chinese teens jail terms ranging from 6 to 13 years approved by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Thomas C. Falls. All of them were jailed right after the incident which took place in March 2015.
According to the authorities, these Chinese teens Helen Yunyao Zhai, Coco Yuhan Yang and John Xinlei Zhang forced another teen from China, Camellia Yiran Liu to kneel down and wipe cigarette butts and ice cream from the floor of a Rowland heights ice cream parlor with her hands. The teenagers tortured Liu over an unpaid bill in a restaurant.
Liu who was 18-year-old when the incident took place told the authorites about the torture she underwent. She testified that after the parlour incident she was taken to a nearby park, stripped naked, kicked with high heeled shoes and burnt with cigarettes.
Liu also testified that she heard Helen telling the others: “Just slow it down and don’t hit her so hard, and we can do it a longer stretch of time.”
Rayford Fountain, Yang’s attorney said, “I’m sure they suffer loneliness. So they bond with other kids in the small Chinese circles with no supervision, no one to turn to for assistance. So these things can get out of control.”
The accused Chinese teens and their families in their statement insisted on that Chinese parents should think carefully before sending their kids to the US for studies without supervision, noted the Los Angeles Times.
Thomas C. Falls did not comment on the case but in an earlier hearing he said that the case reminded him of William Golding’s 1954 novel “Lord of The Flies”.
In a statement read by her attorney to the judge, Coco Yohan Yang said “This is a wake-up call for the ‘parachute kid syndrome’. Parents in China are well-meaning and send their kids thousands of miles away with no supervision and too much freedom. That is a formula for disaster.”
In recent years there is a surge in Chinese teens attending high schools in California without much parental supervision. These students mostly live in private homes and pay their host for rooms, board, transportation and substitute parenting. Some easily mingle in the new environment but some become out of control without the parental guidance.
Recently, there were reports of kidnapping cases in China and how social media helped search for some of them. However, teenagers kidnapping fellow classmates and torturing has become more disturbing for the country and revokes the situation portrayed in the “Lord of the Flies”.