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‘Mentally ill’ Chinese girl, 8, roped to tree outside by grandparents for nearly six years

An eight-year-old Chinese girl has been tied to a tree by her grandparents for nearly six years because she reportedly suffers from mental illness, mainland media reports.

Zhao Ziyi’s grandparents said they first tied her to the tree outside their home some time in 2010 after she became mentally ill and started to hit people, Henan Television reported.

The barefooted girl was filmed with ropes tied around her neck and chest when reporters visited her home in a village in Luoyang, Henan province, in September.

The footage showed that sometimes she was freed by her grandparents so she could walk around, before being tied up again.

The grandparents told a television reporter that Zhao had started to act strangely after she suffered a series of high fevers in 2010.

The family had not been able to afford to send her to hospital for treatment.

“She would attack other children and older people,” her grandfather told reporters. “She is dangerous to others, so we have to tied her up here.”

The report did not say where the girl, who does not go to school, was able to sleep at night, or whether she was untied and allowed to wash inside her grandparents’ home.

The grandparents are the only caretakers of Zhao and her two healthy younger brothers.

Zhao’s handicapped father works in a factory in the nearby town, while her mother, who is also disabled, lives elsewhere.

Local officials said they provided the family with a basic low-income allowance, but could do nothing to stop Zhao being tied up to the tree.