Internet addicts stage uprising at China boot camp

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A group of young Chinese web addicts staged a mutiny at an Internet "boot camp", tying up their instructor and fleeing the facility over its tough military-like techniques, state media said Tuesday.

The 14 mutineers, aged 15 to 22, were all caught by police when they failed to pay a taxi fare following their escape from the rehabilitation centre in east China's Jiangsu province last week, the Global Times said.

They had tied up their supervisor in his bed to allow them to escape the "monotonous work and intensive training" at the camp, it said.

Parents of 13 of the Internet addicts have already sent them back to the Huai'an Internet Addiction Treatment Centre after picking them up at a local police station, the paper said.

"We need to teach them some discipline and help them to establish a regular lifestyle," the paper quoted an employee at the camp as saying.

"We have to use military-style methods such as total immersion and physical training on these young people."

Last month, a court in the southern region of Guangxi sentenced two Internet boot camp instructors to up to 10 years in prison after a 15-year-old addict was beaten to death at the facility.

The August 2009 death followed a string of abuse reported by state media at numerous unregistered Internet treatment centers around China.

According to the China Youth Association for Network Development, there are up to 24 million Chinese adolescents addicted to the Internet, with up to half of them obsessed by online gaming, the Global Times said.

The government said in a white paper on the Internet released Tuesday that it was committed to the "online safety" of minors, noting that it would take measures to keep young people from "overindulging in the Internet."

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