Foster mum jailed for flogging nine-year-old

Li Zhengqin (left) had confessed to beating her nine-year-old foster son (right) with a backscratcher and skipping rope for not doing his homework and telling lies. Her six-month prison term was upheld by a local court.
Li Zhengqin (above) had confessed to beating her nine-year-old foster son with a backscratcher and skipping rope for not doing his homework and telling lies. Her six-month prison term was upheld by a local court.PHOTOS: SINA WEIBO
Li Zhengqin (left) had confessed to beating her nine-year-old foster son (right) with a backscratcher and skipping rope for not doing his homework and telling lies. Her six-month prison term was upheld by a local court.
Li Zhengqin had confessed to beating her nine-year-old foster son (above) with a backscratcher and skipping rope for not doing his homework and telling lies. Her six-month prison term was upheld by a local court.PHOTOS: SINA WEIBO

NANJING • A Chinese woman had a six-month prison term upheld by a local court, which ruled that she had gone "too far" for flogging her foster son over unfinished homework.

Legal experts say the case has shed light on the controversial practice of physical punishment in Chinese families to spur young children to excel.

The case broke in April after widely shared pictures on the Internet showed a boy, known only by his surname Shi, with raw red welts criss-crossing his back.

Nanjing police detained his foster mother, Li Zhengqin, who confessed to beating the nine-year-old boy with a backscratcher and skipping rope for not doing his homework and telling lies.

The boy is the third child of a rural family in Anhui province, according to local media.

He was taken in by Li, his aunt, in the hope that he would receive a better education in the city.

Li was handed a prison term in September, following a medical report that declared the boy had suffered "minor injury". She appealed against the judgment.

Adding to the controversy, the boy and his biological parents have pleaded for mercy for Li.

His parents said Li loved their son, but had just taken the wrong approach in disciplining him.

During Friday's hearing, Li's lawyer showed a video made by the boy, in which he said he wanted Li to return home, and for his family to be back together.

"I'm not a bad mother. I was just trying to discipline my child," Li said at the hearing.

She apologised for her misbehaviour and pleaded not guilty.

The boy's biological mother said the boy was temporarily back in her custody, but she was worried about the poor conditions in their rural home, and the child's future.

XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 22, 2015, with the headline 'Foster mum jailed for flogging nine-year-old'. Print Edition | Subscribe