Police probe Ctrip nursery abuse claims

Clips from a surveillance video show a woman throwing a girl's backpack on the ground and pushing the toddler, who then falls down, hitting her head on the edge of a desk.

Four people at a nursery for Ctrip employees’ children in Shanghai are being investigated by police over alleged abuse, a company official said yesterday.

The nursery has been closed and the Shanghai-based online travel agency will solicit employees’ opinion as to whether it should reopen, said Shi Qi, Ctrip’s vice president.

The four under investigation are two teachers, a principal and a cleaner.

Yesterday’s announcement came after clips from a surveillance video spread online.

One from November 1 seemed to show a woman throwing a girl’s backpack on the ground and pushing the toddler, who then falls down, hitting her head on the edge of a desk.

In another, from last Friday, a teacher appears to forcefully feed something to some children who then begin to cry. Some parents said it was wasabi, a particularly strong form of mustard.

A short video clip also posted online showed a girl answering questions from her parents and telling them that teachers had fed her wasabi.

Shi said the investigation concerned a class for children under the age of 2, the nursery’s youngest age group.

He said surveillance footage was checked after parents complained about injuries to their children.

A third clip posted online showed angry parents at a meeting with nursery staff yesterday trying to attack teachers. The staff kept apologizing to parents.

In the video, one mother said her 18-month daughter had kept crying after attending nursery and she had gone to the Ctrip office building to check surveillance footage to see what had happened.

She said she watched just over two hours of video but could not bear to watch any more.

“My daughter had peed six times in an hour and the teacher beat her with a quilt. She did not change her diaper in time and when she did change the diaper, she pulled up one of the baby’s legs while having her stand in a corner of the room, rather than letting her lie down.”

Some parents responded that no wonder their children had complained of pains in their legs. Some parents could be seen crying and cursing the teachers.

The four people were taken away for questioning after parents contacted the police.

Ctrip said human resources staff had been deployed to every classroom to monitor the operation of the nursery after the complaints.

The company released a statement apologizing to parents and saying one teacher had been fired.

It also promised to install an application on parents phones as soon as possible to connect them with the surveillance system so they could check classrooms at any time.

Health checks and psychological assistance will also be arranged for children and parents, the company said.

In an e-mail to employees, Ctrip CEO Sun Jie said: “By inviting a third-party agency to run the nursery, our original intention was to have a professional and qualified team look after the kids of Ctrip. We are sad and angry to see a thing that we had never expected has happened.

“We have no experience in kid nursing and education, but we are negligent in supervision,” she said.

The nursery was one of the first of 12 workplace nurseries set up over the past two years in the city to look after employees’ children when they were at work.

The Ctrip nursery was set up in February last year and run by an agency called School for the Children, owned by the Modern Family magazine.

The nursery catered for around 110 children.

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