WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
These graphic images show a four-year-old girl who is in intensive care after being beaten within an inch of her life allegedly by her father’s new wife.
A criminal investigation is under way in the farming town of Jiansanjiang, which is in the city of Jiamusi in China’s north-eastern province of Heilongjiang, with the child’s stepmother, Qu Tingting, in police custody since Monday (27th April), authorities have confirmed.
According to reports, the girl, whose name has not been given, was taken into intensive care at Jiansanjiang People’s Hospital after neighbours reported her allegedly being abused by Ms Qu, 30, on 23rd April.
Images released by hospital staff show the girl’s severe physical condition, including torn skin on her forehead and countless fresh wounds and old scars all over her body.
Jiansanjiang police said Ms Qu, who married and moved in with the girl’s father Mr Yu in May last year, admitted to physically harming the child after she arrived to live with them in October last year..
Mr Yu, 28, however, denies ever laying a hand on the girl.
The child’s biological mother Zhang Lingye, 26, has been unable to see her daughter in person due to temporary restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She has instead been sent images by health workers in the critical care unit.
Ms Zhang said: “She has bruising in her brain. She’s had a craniotomy and she is now in a medically induced coma.
“There are burn injuries and bruises – blue and purple – all over her body, including her arms and legs.
“The nurses went in and took a short video for me. She’s not doing well.
“I wouldn’t be able to handle seeing her in person.
“I last saw her on 30th December. I now fear for her life.”
According to Jiansanjiang police, it was not the first time the girl had been hospitalised with injuries consistent with physical harm.
She has been sent to the same hospital at least twice before, including once for a broken nose.
When questioned by hospital staff, both Ms Qu and Mr Yu claimed the child had been “self-harming”, and no charges were filed despite police involvement, the authorities said.
Du Weijun, deputy chief of the Jiansanjiang Public Security Bureau said a criminal investigation was ongoing.
Ms Qu is being held in detention in Jiamusi city centre.
He did not say why the police did not investigate previous instances of suspected domestic abuse further.
Ms Zhang said: “My daughter’s father hasn’t revealed much, but at the very least he has tolerated the abuse.
“Had he not allowed it, how would that woman have been able to repeatedly beat up my daughter?”
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