China Digital Space

Sheep calls to the beast

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羊叫兽 (yáng jiào shòu): sheep calls to the beast

This is the name of an online game called “Beat the Sheep that Calls to the Beast” (痛打羊叫兽). In the game players use a club to beat a person who is shown in the opening scenes using an electric shocking device. (Play the game here.) The game is a reference to Professor Yang (Yáng jiàoshòu), which sounds the same in Chinese as “sheep calls to the beast.” Professor Yang (Yang Yongxin, 杨永信) is a Chinese psychiatrist who used electro-shock therapy as a cure for internet addiction in teenagers. Yang operated a treatment center in Shandong that charged patients 5,500 yuan per month for treatment. Yang treated more than 3,000 children before electro-shock therapy for internet addiction was banned in China.

Professor Yang remains a controversial figure in China, where internet addiction is seen as a serious problem. Most parents of children in Yang's treatment center seem supportive of his harsh methods. As one mother said, “I can see my son has changed. It's better that my kid spend of few months of misery here than be lying in his bed online day after day.” (我看到孩子有了变化,就是来这里受一点苦,总比在家天天躺在床上上网好!)

In 2009, Yang Yongxin (as Uncle Yang) is prominently featured in the hottest online movie: War of Internet Addiction”. In the movie, the bolts of blue electricity are a reference to the use of electro-shock therapy to cure internet addiction.

For more on Yang Yongxin, see here and here (English) and here (Chinese).

Children about to leave Yang's internet addiction treatment center (and their parents) prostrating themselves to thank Professor Yang for his cure.
Yang Yongxin
A screenshot of the game "Beat the Sheep Calls to the Beast."
Yang Yongxin shown as a "brickspert." This cartoon mocks Yang's alleged practice of shocking people to see if they had internet addiction. Apparently if the shocks hurt it meant that one suffered from internet addiction.
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