Kindergarten Abuse Photo Riles Chinese Netizens

By Ariel Tian
Ariel Tian
Ariel Tian
October 24, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Yan Yanhong, a kindergarten teacher unlicensed teacher in Zhejiang province, grasped up both ears of a young child went viral in the internet. She was dismissed on Oct 24. (
The photo of Yan Yanhong, an unlicensed kindergarten teacher in Zhejiang Province, lifting a young child by the ears went viral in the internet. She was dismissed on Oct 24. (

A photo that shows a Chinese kindergarten teacher holding a small boy by the ears, causing the child to scream in pain, triggered a storm of criticism among netizens after it was uploaded to a popular Chinese social media website on Wednesday.

The photo shows a smiling teacher suspending the boy by the ears went viral on Wednesday and was the most searched and commented-on topic on Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging service. The image was apparently taken by another teacher at the school, but it is unclear if the teacher was a willing participant.

It was the second time in a day that Chinese Internet users expressed outrage via social media channels over instances of teacher-caused child abuse, after a report on Sina said that a 5-year-old girl was slapped 70 times in a half-hour span by a female teacher. Four other children were reportedly beaten by the same woman. 

The woman in the photo was identified as Yan Yanhong, who was described as an unlicensed teacher by state-run media of the coastal Zhejiang Province city of Wenling. It was also reported that Yan said she was abusing the kid “for a moment of fun.”

Later, Yan was apparently dismissed from the school, reported the Wenling Daily, which published a press release from the city’s Department of Education. “The kindergarten has been instructed to dismiss the teacher, Yan, and report the matter to local public security,” it stated.

The photo caused outrage among users of the Weibo service. 

One Weibo user said that Yan is “lower than an animal,” worrying that the abuse might traumatize young children at the kindergarten and cause latent psychological damage later on.

A Weibo user apparently was able to talk with Yan, who told them that she did not have a license but could be admitted as a teacher at the school. “As long as you have a relationship [with school officials], you can get into the kindergarten” as a teacher, she said.

After the image went viral, a Weibo user created a survey about “whether or not you have been physically punished by a teacher.” Among 3,500 participants, more than 71 percent said that they had been. 

Weibo user “OooOubaoooO” said that “almost every day there is news [in China] about child abductions and child abuse … and we are helpless to do anything about it.

“What is happening to our society?” the user lamented.

In an interview with The Epoch Times, political commentator for NTD Television Wen Zhao blamed a decline in public morals among Chinese for the instances of child abuse.

There is a great deal of “indifference among people” in China, as well as rampant “cheating and political repression” that is creating an unstable situation, he said. This suggests that people are unwilling to lend a helping hand or stand up against abuses in China, though when revealed in a public and largely anonymous setting such as the Internet, people are outraged.

“China’s corrupt political environment and social system are the main factors in the moral decline, because these are closely connected to public life,” Wen Zhao said.

In July, a photo that showed two orphan boys living in unhygienic conditions and chained to a bed also triggered public outrage on Weibo.

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Ariel Tian