China bans controversial electric-shock therapy for Internet addicts

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Beijing, July 14 (ANI): The Chinese Health Ministry has ordered a halt to the controversial electroshock therapy, which it was useing to treat teen Internet addicts.

The ministry has said that the therapy, which was administered by a clinic in Linyi, Shandong province, is not safe.

There is still a fierce debate over whether electroshock therapy was appropriate for young internet addicts or not.

"We have no clue whether this freaky treatment has side-effects," said Kong Lingzhong, editor of a domestic Internet addiction-themed portal.

The Shandong clinic stopped giving shock treatment to teenagers as soon as they received the Health Ministry's notification, Yang Shuyun of the clinic said.

She, however, emphasized that the program led by Dr. Yang Yongxin was not exclusively about electrotherapy, and said it had important medical and psychological elements too.

More than 3,000 young people were being tricked or forced into in to the four-month long course. To enroll their children, parents or guardians had to sign a contract acknowledging that they would be given electric shocks of up to 200 milliamperes.

The treatment cost 6,000 yuan per month. Patients were considered "cured" or "reborn" once they admitted to their addiction.

It was reported that shocks were given if patients broke any of the center's 86 rules, which included prohibitions on eating chocolate, locking the bathroom door, taking pills before a meal, and sitting in Dr. Yang's chair without permission.

Details of the treatment first became public when former patients wrote about their experiences online.

Internet addiction is a growing problem in China, which now has nearly 300 million Internet users, including many adolescents who spend several hours each day playing computer games. (ANI)

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