Video of Near-Naked Chinese Boy Running in Snow Sparks Furor

Posted February 9th, 2012 at 1:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Home video showing a four-year-old Chinese boy forced by his parents last month to run almost naked through the snow of New York City is sparking controversy and allegations of child cruelty.

The short video, posted on YouTube and other video-sharing websites, shows the crying boy running toward his parents in his underwear and shoes, calling out to them to pick him up. Amid bitter cold temperature readings, one or both parents are heard laughing and urging the boy to lie down in the snow.

The father, He Liesheng, told the French news agency he was trying to train his son to develop what he called a “masculine temperament.” An associate told the news agency the father shared the video with friends, but was not sure how it ended up on the Internet.

Beijing's official China Daily newspaper said the father's approach to parenting is “understandable to some extent.” The report said the boy, identified as Duoduo, was born prematurely and suffered medical complications. The paper said those afflictions were overcome by “a set of tough physical training and mental education programs” designed by the father.

Critics on Weibo, China's version of Twitter, said the approach was little more than child abuse.

But the boy's father told CNN he doesn't care about the criticism. The father said Chinese parents “spoil their only child too much” by not exposing them to nature enough. This, he said, makes them weaker and less competitive compared to foreign children.