Mentally ill Chinese man locked in cage

Last updated 13:38 28/05/2013

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A schizophrenic Chinese man, who once beat a teenager to death, has spent more than a decade with shackles on his feet and locked in a cage by his family.

Wu Yuanhong, 42, has a pan for a toilet and is feed through the bars, according to the Chinese newspaper Information Daily.

Diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 15, Yuanhong went on to beat a 13-year-old to death in 2001 in the Jiangxi province.

He was arrested and imprisoned but judicial authorities later released him, because his mental illness meant he was unable to be held accountable for his actions.

Yuanhong was placed in shackles after his release, but his mother Wang Muxiang built the cage after he escaped and terrorised the residents his home village of Shangfan, The Independent reported.

The family reportedly built a stronger structure but he got out again.

They then built the cage, which has been his home for the past 11 years.

His mother told the Chinese paper: "My son may be insane, and beat someone to death, but he's still my son.

"To use my own hands to place him in a cage was very hard to take, like being stabbed with a knife.

"Every time I delivered food, I would sit at his cage and cry. Now my tears are dried up."

More than 17 million in China are thought be suffering mental health issues and social services struggle to cope.

In Yuanhong's case, his mother said she tried to find someone who would weld a strong cage for her son but local blacksmiths refused out of fear he escape again and attack them in revenge.

In the end, she said she was desperate and had to do it herself.

"I welded the cage while crying heavily," she said.

"Although he suffers from mental illness and killed a person, he still is my son. Thinking I am making a cage to lock him in, my heart was broken."

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