China's largest online travel service said on Wednesday it has reported a child abuse case at its affiliated day-care center in Shanghai and has fired those responsible, after videos of the alleged incident were posted on social media, creating an outcry from parents and netizens.
''There was gross negligence by some teachers at the day-care center, which ctrip.com entrusted to a third party to manage. The company has reported the case to the police and will stand with the parents in holding those responsible accountable," ctrip.com said in a statement on Wednesday.
''The company has asked the day-care center to seriously deal with the case. And the company has terminated the contracts of the teachers involved," read the statement.
The company held a press conference on Wednesday with one of the teachers involved kneeling down, begging for pardon in front of angry parents. The parents, however, shouted at her and forced wasabi into her month until police arrived, according to videos uploaded online.
The videos of teachers abusing children in the day-care center were uploaded Wednesday. One of the videos shows a woman knocking a girl on a chair, undressing her and smashing her bag on the floor. Another video shows a teacher forcing a child to eat what some parents claimed to be wasabi.
Shi Qi, vice-president and secretary of the Party committee of ctrip.com, said that the abused children were aged from 18 months to 24 months, news site thepaper.cn reported on Wednesday.
"Four people in the day-care center were found to have abused the children. These were a cleaning worker, nursery governess, a teacher and the head of the day-care center … Enraged parents confronted us … the emergency group which includes the CEO of the company, Sun Jie, and parent representatives went through all the videos for the last three months," Shi said.
The company said that ctrip.com has started procedures to choose another management group to manage the daycare center following the incident.
"We are sorry for the incident and will offer physical examinations and psychological counseling to children in the day-care center and parents in an effort to minimize the impact of the incident. The company will also safeguard the interests of the children and their parents, cooperating with them to punish the teachers involved through legal means," read the statement.
The video has not only infuriated parents whose children are enrolled in the day-care center but also angered the public, with many netizens saying on Wednesday that they would boycott ctrip.com.
Some netizens asked why the teachers were not prevented from abusing the children at the day-care center as similar cases have been frequently exposed.
A netizen who claims to be a primary school teacher said the threshold for day-care center teachers should be raised to prevent such cases.