A mentally ill Chinese woman has reportedly been locked up by a farmer at his home for more than 20 years and forced to have children with him.
Her self-proclaimed ‘husband’, 70-year-old Mr Dong, also beats her regularly and even sold two of their children, a neighbour has accused.
Mr Dong, who lives in the province of Hebei in northern China, told local media that he brought the woman home as his ‘wife’ after finding her in the fields one day.
Mr Dong claimed that the woman could not talk when he came across her and had been badly beaten by others for unspecified reasons.
The local government said they were investigating the matter.
The woman’s grim situation was revealed by Chinese news outlet The Paper in a report on Saturday.
According to the report, Mr Dong has kept the woman, known as Xin Yan, at his cramped home at Mafangying Village in the county of Jize since the 1990s.
The Shanghai-based news site released a video of a reporter visiting Xin Yan at Mr Dong’s grotty home.
Xin Yan is seen lying in a bed under a duvet. When the reporter asked her for her name and whether or not she had any children, she was not able to respond.
Mr Dong then scolded Xin Yan and hit her with a wooden stick for not being able to converse with him and the reporter.
The man explained to the reporter that his ‘wife’ was ‘stupid’.
Afterwards, he carried on poking Xin Yan with the rod for not covering herself properly with the duvet.
Mr Dong said he did not know how old Xin Yan was or where she was from. Official residential records show Xin Yan was born in 1956.
A villager, known by her surname Wang, told the reporter that Mr Dong and Xin Yan had several children and Mr Dong sold two of them.
‘He found human traffickers and sold their children,’ she accused.
The whistle-blower also claimed that Xin Yan became mentally ill after she had been locked up and maltreated by Mr Dong – claims village officials denied.
The Party Secretary of the village, Mr Zhang, said that Mr Dong took Xin Yan home after meeting her by accident and then spent more than a dozen yuan (£1-2) buying peanuts and sweets for other villagers to announce their ‘marriage’.
Mr Zhang claimed that the couple had two children who are in their early 20s now.
The local officials set up a team to investigate the matter after the report became trending on social media.
According to a statement from the People’s Government of Jize County, the woman, referred to as Mrs Dong, had been homeless and come to Mafangying Village before being ‘adopted’ by Mr Dong who has ‘co-inhabited’ with her since.
The investigators claimed that Mr Dong met Mrs Dong 30 years ago.
They said the village’s officials registered Mrs Dong’s information in the local residential database in September 2018 after confirming she had not been a victim of human trafficking.
The statement also denied the allegations that Mr Dong had sold their children. It said that the couple had three children who were raised by their aunt and now live in Beijing and Shandong with stable jobs.
The authorities said they were carrying out further investigation. (Daily Mail)