Kindergarten in Beijing under investigation over child abuse claims

Chinese police have launched an investigation into alleged child abuse at the RYB Education New World kindergarten in Beijing

Chinese police have launched an investigation into alleged child abuse at the RYB Education New World kindergarten in Beijing

Police are investigating claims of child abuse at one of Beijing's most well-known kindergartens, Xinhua reports.

The official Xinhua news agency said late on Thursday that police were investigating allegations some teachers had abused infants at the school after parents raised concerns to police after finding unexplained needle marks on their children's skin.

Today, RYB Education issued a statement saying that it is now working with the police to provide relevant surveillance materials and equipment, while the teachers in question have been suspended to cooperate with the police investigation. The accusations have caused widespread criticism of China's booming child education industry.

The Chaoyang district government said police opened an investigation after parents called the authorities on Wednesday to report the suspected abuse.

Separate incidents in China of children being slapped, beaten with a stick and having their mouths sealed shut with duct tape have also gone viral and fueled anger online.

As shown on Free Weibo, stories and comments about RYB Education are being heavily censored; however, it still remains the hottest topic on the social media network by far with numerous threads wracking up thousands of comments as prominent commentators and celebs have also spoken up about the issue.

"These may be individual cases but the deeper problems they reflect can not be overlooked", a Xinhua editorial said. "The childcare industry can not be allowed to grow in an uncivilized fashion".

The kindergarten is run by RYB Education Inc, which was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in September.

This was not the first case of alleged abuse at an RYB school.

RYB already had to apologise in April and suspended the head of a Beijing kindergarten after admitting that teachers committed "severe mistakes".

The massive scandal has placed Chinese censors in a hard predicament as they confront a towering wave of outrage coming from middle-class parents concerned about the safety of their children, particularly in the wake of a similarly shocking child abuse scandal at a Shanghai daycare.

On Friday, one father leaving the school said he had been there to cancel his son's enrolment and demand a refund.

"As a mother when I saw this news I really couldn't take it", she said.

RYB Education directly operates 80 kindergartens and franchised another 175 in 130 cities across China for children ranging from newborns to six-year-olds, according to its Nasdaq listing.

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