Six-year-old left in a coma after stepmother beats child with bamboo sticks and ties him up with a wire
Sun Xiaoqian was found guilty of two counts of intentional assault and maltreatment over the brutal beating of her stepson and was sentenced to 16 years in prison
A stepmother in north-west China was sentenced to 16 years in prison this past week for physically abusing her six-year-old stepson to the extent that he was left in a vegetative state. Sun Xiaoqian was found guilty of beating the child, nicknamed Peng Peng, with bamboo sticks and ropes and tying him up with wire at the Linwei District Court in Shaanxi province of China.
According to the Daily Mail, Xiaoqian was convicted of two counts of intentional assault and maltreatment stemming from the incident that came to light on March 29 last year. The child, who was admitted into a hospital in Xi'an, had been beaten to the point he was left in a coma with serious injuries.
Doctors revealed the horrific extent of his abuse and said that 75 percent of Peng Peng's skull had been fractured and that he had sustained multiple brain hemorrhages. The child was also found to have suffered broken ribs, had permanently disabled eyesight, deformed kneecaps, missing front teeth, and ulcers.
Local news outlet Xinhua reported that the stepmother had defended herself by claiming that she had beaten the six-year-old boy on the morning of March 29 because he had stained the bedsheets and because he refused to be disciplined. Then, at 9 pm on the same day, she took him to the hospital for treatment.
Peng Peng had reportedly been living with his father who had divorced the child's birth mother in December 2015 and had married Xiaoqian in October 2016. An investigation by law enforcement brought the stepmother's indiscretions to light and she was subsequently taken in by the authorities in May 2017.
The woman confessed in court that she had punished Peng Peng by asking him to stand or kneel for up to 20 minutes. However, she insisted that she only did so because she was afraid that, if she went easy on the six-year-old, her boy's father would get the impression that she's a bad mother.
"It pains me that I didn't take good care of the child," she was quoted saying by the Mail. "As a mother, I wished it was me on the hospital bed now. I love my husband very much, of course I would love his child. I have no reason to hurt them. I regret my actions." She added, "Following a deep reflection and thorough understanding of the law, I now realize that my way of parenting caused problems to various families."
As of now, Peng Peng remains in a vegetative state and is undergoing treatment at a public hospital at a cost of approximately 5,500 yuan ($789) a month. After the news went viral on Chinese social media, citizens banded together to raise over two million yuan (~$286,000) through a national crowdfunding campaign that will cover the cost of his continued treatment.