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Ctrip day care center abuse suspects held

By Cao Chen in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-10 07:43

Video footage shows staff members at facility treating young children roughly

Prosecutors specializing in crimes against children in Shanghai's Changning district have taken up a case of child abuse that allegedly took place at the in-house day care center of Ctrip, a major online travel agency.

Video footage, which has gone viral since Monday, shows staff members at the center treating children roughly, causing some to fall. Some children were forced to swallow a substance investigators identified as mustard. Ctrip alerted police to the incident on Tuesday.

According to the police, the children involved are between 18 and 24 months old.

Three suspects - a custodian, a day care worker and the teacher in charge of the class - have been detained and charged with child abuse. A fourth person, the head of the center, is being charged with dereliction of duty.

Ctrip has formed its own investigative team that will review the center's surveillance footage over the past three months.

All classes at the center were suspended on Thursday.

Operations at the center are managed by a company called Modern Family Magazine, Ctrip said.

The Shanghai Women's Federation, which is a shareholder in the company and a direct supervisor, announced on social media on Thursday that the four suspects have been fired. It also apologized to the families of the affected children.

The case provoked public shock, anger and discussion.

More than 18.7 million netizens joined an online discussion group on Sina Weibo to comment on the case.

While condemning the suspects involved, some netizens said they thought supervision of the child care center was lax. Others questioned whether the day care staff and others were sufficiently qualified to take care of children. Many saw regulatory and supervisory negligence as the main problem.

A comment from one netizen was popular: "We want justice for the victims and protection for children in day care."

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