A video of a woman locked up in a village hut with a chain around her neck sparked outrage in China, prompting an investigation.
A man posted the video on Douyin, a social network that owns TikTok, showing the woman locked in a building filled with trash and in cold winter conditions in a village in Juangsu province in eastern China.
The woman appeared dazed and was unable to answer properly to questions about her living conditions.
Another video was later uploaded with the man who had apparently locked up the woman. The man said that the woman had multiple children with him, some of whom introduced themselves in the video.
The video went viral in China and social media users demanded authorities to help the woman.
Social media users also questioned the circumstances under which the woman gave birth to eight children, given China’s strict family policies.
Local authorities identified the woman by her last name Yang, from Feng County Huankou Township.
Yang is now in the hospital for treatment and her children had been taken into state care, according to officials.
Authorities also said that Yang had recently been diagnosed with schizophrenia and that she married her husband identified as Dong in 1998.
The husband’s family told authorities that Yang often had violent outbursts.
Officials said they launched an investigation into the husband on suspicion of violating the law, according to local media reports.
While social media users accused the husband of human trafficking, the Feng County government said no evidence supported this claim.
Online discussion of the case has been heavily censored, with authorities removing several posts about human trafficking. However, a Weibo thread discussing the government investigation of the case remains with over 52 million views and 29,000 comments.
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