The facility is one of several hundreds of detox centers similar to the training camps that have opened across China over the past ten years, amid growing concerns about the amount of time young people spend on the Internet.
On Tuesday, court documents showed that four men – surnamed Won, Ren, Zhang and Kuo – were convicted of unlawful arrest after they held 12 young men in solitary confinement at Yuchang Academy in Jiangxi Province for up to 10 days. 11 of the victims were under 18 years old at the time.
Wu was sentenced to about three years in prison, while Ren and Zhang received two years, seven months, one year and ten months, respectively. Qu was sentenced to 11 months imprisonment.
The center has made headlines since 2017, after the local government announced it would investigate allegations of severe corporal punishment used against students in an attempt to “develop the moral character of adolescents,” according to reports in state media.
According to the state-run Global Times, former students from Yuchang Academy were accused of placing new students in “small black rooms” without a blanket and toilet bowl.
“I was watching all the time,” a former student, Xuan, told the Global Times in 2017.
The Chinese government has taken a number of measures in recent years to eliminate Internet addiction. In November, Beijing announced a curfew for people under the age of 18 to prevent them from playing online video late at night. On weekdays, they can play up to 90 minutes, and up to three hours on weekends.