I'm a college student right now. I'm Chinese, but I'm an American citizen (born in China but came to the states at the age of 6).

Back in January 2013, my parents told me we were seeing family for a week or so. While I was in China, my family told me I would be going to this school for 4 months.

I started college in 2010 and I performed poorly my second year and was put on academic suspension. I worked fall of 2012 and was sent here for the entirety of spring of 2013. I came back to the United States about two weeks ago.

The school itself is located in Shandong province in China. Everything was in Chinese, so it really wasn't designed for kids that grew up in America like me; almost everyone else there was from the area except for me. It's main mission is to help with youth struggling with "Internet addiction," but a lot of people sent here have a myriad of problems that aren't just related to being on the computer in a web cafe all day. When you get sent there, all of your electronics and money are taken away. During your entire stay there, you aren't allow to use any personal electronics. One phone call is allowed home at the 2 month mark if you are well behaved. Your parents or family are allowed to see you at the 3 month mark.

There are anywhere from around 70 to 120 students at the school at any given time; students come and go so since it's not a fixed semester like normal schools. All students are split into one of 6 teams - 5 male teams and one female. The female team usually has around 20 members and they go through the same training that the guys go through. The youngest members were 12-13; the oldest were as old as 31. Most of them were high schoolers (ages 15-18) that didn't do well or just skipped school and had fights with parents.

There are 3-4 staff members per team (most of which were ex-army or police) and they stay with the kids 24/7. They get a few days of break per month, but we all basically eat and sleep together. The staff oversees our training and when parents call the school, they speak to their student's respective staff members. They specifically are not allowed to hit students (as in straight up beating the shit out of us) but are allowed to put us down and punish us in any other way.

I honestly had it pretty easy compared to some of the other kids. Being an "American" and all, a lot of the other kids and even staff were really curious as to what life was like here in the US. I almost never got punished because I behaved generally really well. I became the class monitor (Ban zhang in Chinese) around the 2 month mark, which entailed leading the team in activities and ordering the team around when it came to cleaning our dorms or the mess hall. I could also punish students with exercises if they didn't comply.

I don't know how I got through it all. I felt like I learned a lot coming out of this. My Chinese definitely got better. Heh.

Here are some pictures I took on the day I left: http://imgur.com/a/wWHnE#0

The reason I'm dressed differently is because I was about to leave; they let me change clothes and gave my iphone back for the day.

Can't really think of much else to say right now, which is what this AMA is for! Ask me anything.

Comments: 331 • Responses: 65  • Date: 

Stre8Edge43 karma

So lets see if I understand this. Correct me if I am wrong.

  • Your an American citizen.
  • Over the age of 18
  • Went to China on what you thought was a vacation to see family
  • Was told when you arrived that you would be attending a school for 4 months
  • Was forced to stay?
  • And is now back in the USA

Question: Were you held against your will? If not why did you stay? If yes, could you not go to the American embassy? Did you still have your passport? And finally, why did your parents do this? Just because you were failing college or some other reasons? And what is your relationship with them today?

LookThrice30 karma

Yup, completely correct. I'm 21 right now, I had my 21st birthday in China.

  1. Yes, I was held against my will. You are only allowed to leave if and ONLY IF your parents pick you up (the staff can remind your parents that it's almost the 4 month mark, but only your parents can see it that you leave the school)

  2. My parents took away my passport and all my ID/money. You couldn't call anyone; we weren't allowed to use the phone at all during our stay unless it was our 2 month call home.

  3. Yea, my parents were really disappointed in me failing college and wasting lots of money/time. My family in China (my only family in the US are my parents and sister) found me this place and told me parents to send me here. I was on the computer a LOT; mainly on reddit and playing League of Legends with friends.

  4. Right now, I'm living in their house. They saw a lot of changes in me for the better; physically I'm a lot more fit from this and I've learned to appreciate the things I had here in the United States. They're still REALLY cautious about letting me on the computer, especially when it comes to online games. Right now, I'm reinstated in my college and plan on continuing my education in the fall.

Stre8Edge18 karma

I always knew LoL would be the downfall of our youth. Thanks for answering.

And before I get down-voted to hell by LoL fans, Its a joke.

LookThrice8 karma

Haha, yea it definitely takes a lot of time. I'm hoping to manage my time better in the future, but I really do love the game and all of friends (irl and online) that play it with me. :3

Stre8Edge2 karma

Thought of another question: If your parents had come to you before this and said "Hey dumbass (or the Chinese equivalent) your going to boot camp or were cutting you off," would you have?

LookThrice7 karma

Hell no. I was actually really suspicious of SOMETHING going on, since my mom offered to bring me shopping and kept suggesting for me to buy all these things I never thought I need. And then while packing, she told me to bring my guitar, which she usually thought was a hassle to bring around during vacation.

Unfortunately, I was too dumb/nice to take any action until it was too late lol

Stre8Edge13 karma

I don't think I would trust my parents again if the did that to me. Sorry this had to happen to you. Hope you and your parents can still habe a relationship with trust.

LookThrice4 karma

Thanks! Yea, I'm going to have some trust issues possibly but I hope we can work everything out in the future. Hopefully my improved Chinese vocab can allow me to communicate with them better. :)

BUNDY_3 karma

They did it with the best intentions obviously,you fucked up your school and we're probably heading towards fucking up your future,with your parents becoming more and more desperate seeing their full adult-son playing video-games the whole day. You should thank them,if anything.

LookThrice9 karma

Yea, you are completely correct. I actually am really glad they sent me here.

darthjon8 karma

So you aren't talking to your parents anymore right, cause yeah, what they did would earn the "you are no longer my parents" award from me

LookThrice3 karma

Heh, I'm still kind of relying on them for the rest of my college career and we're on good terms now since I'm back. Truthfully, they're really glad I'm back, just as much as I am and they were pretty worried about me while I was there.

hlabarka6 karma

Yeah, whenever I kidnap my kid and send him to a camp in china to have his brain washed, I'm always worried. You should leave man. Just leave. If you are young and healthy, you can show up in any city in the U.S.- hustle your way into a place to live, meet some girls, make some buddies... get a job if you have to. You only live once and your parents are afraid you are going to waste it on the Internet when really you should be worried about wasting it in their basement doing whatever the fuck crazy shit they say.

LookThrice6 karma

I've already been reinstated into my college and plan on continuing my education in the fall. Honestly, I really want a college degree and I really need the support of my parents, at least financially, to get through.

hlabarka6 karma

What are you studying? Computer Science?

LookThrice4 karma

Yup! How did you know?

TZencho2 karma

Seeing how you play league, you could not talk to them and become the next doublelift?

LookThrice2 karma

Thanks to elo decay, I went from ~1700 preseason 3 to silver I right now lol. Definitely not good enough. :]

TZencho2 karma

Silver 1 represent bro. Ain't no shame of being almost wood league.

LookThrice2 karma

Lol definitely no shame being here. I just hope I can manage my time better (which I have been able to do for two weeks so far) and not play as much as I did before.

I'm on a 6 win streak and I hope I can get gold soon!

vamosrafan1 karma

Sorry, but how did you play League without internet....?

LookThrice1 karma

I played before I went to the school.

vamosrafan1 karma

Ohhhhh Ok, that makes sense. Get to Diamond!! What's your LoL name btw? I wanna look you up on LoLKing.

LookThrice1 karma

Ąndy <note the weird A

6 win streak in ranked so far. :]

BirdboyDom3 karma

Yes, I was held against my will.

Are you planning on taking any legal action regarding that? Or do you feel it was for the best, in the end?

LookThrice9 karma

They are my family and parents after all, I would really get much out of taking any legal action; I felt like it was all for the better in the end. I honestly would've just loafed around all semester or at the very most gotten a minimum wage job.

As for the school itself, believe it or not, it's a perfectly legal system in China. They specifically don't allow hitting of students, so there's really nothing the government can do about it. Apparently it's actually pretty well endorsed and supported by the city lol

fitwork013 karma

This is due to the social outcry over the increased internet addiction, correct? This is a bigger problem than I think many people are aware of in Western societies.

LookThrice6 karma

Yea, in China, they have tons of Internet cafes where people would go to use the internet/play games. Some of the kids that are sent here have been living in web cafes for weeks lol.

In Western societies, we all stay in the safety of our homes. Additionally, Americans kind of have that "oh leave them alone it's their life" attitude towards this kind of thing.

captainenema1 karma

Beats me how the Chinese get so fired up on the Wang Ba culture. I find them to be dirty, stinky, horrible places that I only use when my own internet cuts out at home.

Shangdong eh?

Perchance where you anywhere near Tengzhou or Jinan? I lived in Tengzhou for six months and passed my time having post-industrial zombie nightmare from living in the middle of an industrial district.

The questions I have for you:

Do you understand that what happened to you was wrong?

In the sense that it was a grievous violation of trust on the part of your parents?

Would you ever consider sending your own children to such a program some day?

Keep in mind when you break the law you have a trial before being denied your freedom. You didn't break the law, you didn't get a trial, you had no representation, and you had no access to services to protect yourself while in the program. With this in mind would you send your children to such a program?

Have you googled or done any research on boot camps in China?

If yes, have your parents done so? I recall incidents of people dying in these places. What information can you find and what information was at their finger tips.

I wouldn't hate your parents, they probably were scared out of their minds and a relative in China sold them on this. I would be very skeptical of their judgement from now on. I would also never get on a plane to and go anywhere at their request ever again.

It sounds to me like you had a bad experience, but haven't come out of it overly compromised in terms of your own judgment as to what is abusive and what isn't. Perhaps you should consider making a long post on the abusive events you saw directed towards other detainees?

Maybe that'll help others see the inherent dangers of this sort of place and situation.

LookThrice3 karma

Yes, I was actually in the city of Jinan.

Do you understand that what happened to you was wrong? In the sense that it was a grievous violation of trust on the part of your parents?

Yes, I understand that it was wrong on their part and it really hurt my trust in them. However, I also understand that they were pressured and probably felt like they had no other choice at that point.

Would you ever consider sending your own children to such a program some day? Keep in mind when you break the law you have a trial before being denied your freedom. You didn't break the law, you didn't get a trial, you had no representation, and you had no access to services to protect yourself while in the program. With this in mind would you send your children to such a program?

Heh I joking said in another one of my answers that I'd threaten to send my children there if they misbehave. Honestly, I probably wouldn't. Hopefully, I can bring my children up in such a way that I wouldn't have to think about it. :]

Have you googled or done any research on boot camps in China? If yes, have your parents done so? I recall incidents of people dying in these places. What information can you find and what information was at their finger tips.

Actually this was a big concern not only for my parents but also my family. My mom actually sent my cousin to personally go look at this place to make sure it would be okay. I do know that there are some other schools that have much, much harsher methods. The school I went was... comparatively less harsh than some of the other schools in the area.

Yea... there are definitely going to trust issues in the future. I've definitely learned a lot from this experience. I felt like I was really really naive before this. I guess I still kind of am.

I think I've told a couple of stories of what I've seen of how the other detainees were treated. I'll find some time tomorrow and maybe put those together.

alphanovember18 karma

Seriously, WTF? OP was essentially kidnapped and held captive for 4 months. This is not right, no matter how beneficial the OP thinks it was at the end. The entire time I was reading his post I was just awed at how messed up the whole thing is. Also, regarding this part

When you get sent there, all of your electronics and money are taken away. During your entire stay there, you aren't allow to use any personal electronics. One phone call is allowed home at the 2 month mark if you are well behaved. Your parents or family are allowed to see you at the 3 month mark.

That's something that can easily be abused. Literally. If one of the kids had a legitimate abuse complaint against the staff, they would have no way to communicate it to the outside world.

shishedkebab5 karma

well. it's like being forced to do rehab. it's just we don't have a system of rehab for non-drug related addictions.

LookThrice5 karma

This is true. I feel like addiction to the Internet is getting serious enough for some people that the extent to which it affects someone's life can be compared to drugs and whatnot, especially since many of these kids in China are basically living in web cafes and not going to school.

It's basically rehab for the more serious cases of the Internets.

ChisaiKyoku2 karma

When you say live, you mean eat and sleep at an internet cafe, right?

LookThrice2 karma


bigfish083 karma

I want to see this answered. How could they force you to go?

LookThrice2 karma

They call the parents and tell them that their kids have improved a lot and they can leave the school. Honestly, most parents pick their kids up when they hear good news because it's pretty expensive to send your kids there by Chinese standards.

Edit: My bad, misunderstood the question. Look below for answer :]

lauriekindred26 karma

Goes to a place for youth struggling with "Internet addiction", First thing he does is take pictures with his Iphone and holds an AMA.

Would you say you "beat" your Internet addiction?

LookThrice12 karma

Heh, I took those pictures on the day I was leaving the school, and I just got back from this place!

I've definitely learned to manage my time better and prioritize. Video games and reddit ain't shit if you fail out of school/don't have a job!

patronix12 karma

I may sound weird, but I would like to go to camp like that for a month :D

LookThrice14 karma

Believe it or not, some students went there willingly to improve life habits and whatnot.

I can hook you up with the school if you want to give it a try lol

fishdixd8 karma

Did you have any romantic flings?

LookThrice9 karma

Dating was STRICTLY forbidden (one of the deadly crimes, up there with fighting and trying to/actually running away). Most of the guys didn't even talk to girls for fear of the staff having suspicions.

With that being said, I had a 14 year old and 17 year old like me, and some of the other girls passed notes for me. Nothing really worked out, it was just a liking. They gave me their QQ numbers (chinese version of skype/facebook all in one) and I added them, but they can't really log on since they're still at the school. But yea, males and females are kept really separate and we're all honestly pretty scared to approach or talk to each other.

This one couple that got caught had to do duck walks laps all day (you basically squat down and walk like that, it kills your knees. Best technique is to swing your legs outwards in an arc and put them in front of you. Even then, you get tired pretty quickly. Most people are reduced to wobbling forward within 15 minutes heh)

glorybear8 karma

What was the most surprising thing you witnessed while there?

LookThrice15 karma

When I first got there, everything was surprising. They didn't have sitting toilets like in the US, so you had to squat while pooping. I wish I took a picture of them, but some Chinese people might know what I'm talking about. There's a lot of little things that were surprising to me at first but I eventually grew used to - no washing machines, used ice cold water to wash our clothes; no hot water in our dorms so we took showers as a team in a nearby bathhouse; etc

A lot of the kids try to run away on the first day, and usually two of the staff just grab them by the arms and force them to run laps until they get tired. The logic is if their legs are tired, they can't run. If they refuse to run, they just get dragged in circles until they comply.

Also, it surprised me just how many people smoked in China. They don't have a minimum smoking age, so kids as young as 14-15 smoke on a regular basis. Since cigarettes weren't allowed, a lot of kids went nuts over not being able to smoke, and tried to get cigarettes in any way possible (stealing from staff, trying to get kids that were leaving the school to bring them, etc.)

alphanovember12 karma

A lot of the kids try to run away on the first day, and usually two of the staff just grab them by the arms and force them to run laps until they get tired. The logic is if their legs are tired, they can't run. If they refuse to run, they just get dragged in circles until they comply.

What the fuck. Okay, this is downright abuse now.

LookThrice15 karma

Yea, a lot of the things there were pretty abusive now that I look back... That was actually one of the lesser punishments lol.

These two kids in my team once ate one of the staff's food because they thought said staff member was going to eat out. He comes in 5 minutes later and finds all his food gone. He got mad and after lunch, he made both of those kids drink water until they threw up. He fed them afterwards, but I'm sure they learned their lesson from that.

It's just really brutal all round if you do anything bad. I mean, it's not like most of the kids sent here were little angels or anything.

1nsanityy2 karma

Damn.... Any other harsh punishments you saw while there?

LookThrice11 karma

This one time, one of the kids ran away (which basically never happens since the school is completely walled up and all exits are constantly covered). The kid actually made it home and two of the staff members were already there waiting for him. The kid tried to run and jumped into a stream behind his home, and the staff eventually caught up to him and brought him back.

I don't know what kind of punishment he got, but the rest of the school all got a piece of newspaper and we had to do whatever workouts we could to make the whole newspaper wet from sweat.

PolarisSONE7 karma

Chinese-Canadian here, parents wanted to put me in one of these to "toughen" me up, and I was like fuck no. Did you have fun? Was it a worthwhile experience? Would you do it again?

And that Chinese girl is a cutie, did you hit on her :P?

LookThrice5 karma

It was fun to some extent, even though everything was hella tough, you're going through the same thing as a lot of other kids like yourself. I wouldn't recommend it if your Chinese sucks tho, because a lot of the things might be hard to understand.

It was worthwhile in the sense that I basically worked out for four months and I'm a lot more in shape as a result. I would definitely not do it again; having no computer or phone for 4 months was hell.

And unfortunately, no I didn't hit on her. She was one of the staff, so I'd probably get my ass handed to me xD

Trcymcgrdy16 karma

Sorry, first of all, failing college for games is pretty bad. Secondly, your parents sending you to boot camp because you failed is pretty bad. I would expect this to be from an Asian (Korean, Japanese, or Chinese) family. I live in Hawaii and we have so many Asians here ( I am Korean) and the parents are so strict and hardcore about almost everything. Luckily, my generation and a lot fo the parents, at leats in hawaii, chilled the fuck out.

LookThrice3 karma

Yea, fight bad with bad huh.

My parents were born and raised in China so I'd imagine that a lot of their parenting methods are still pretty traditional.

SnoopLionsCub6 karma

How the fuck is this legal?

LookThrice11 karma

It's legal in China.

I'm pretty sure it's illegal here in the United States to hold 18+ year olds against their will, but this ain't 'murica. :\

redditerate6 karma

Really this doesn't sound much different than boot camps in the USA

Minus the fact boot camps in the USA usually don't take 18+ adults


LookThrice9 karma

Yup, actually the only reason my parents didn't send me to a boot camp here in the US was because they were significantly more expensive than those in China.

skypi2055 karma

What are the activities you guys normally do??

LookThrice7 karma

I guess I'll outline a day for you, because it's really structured and the only difference is the AM and PM activity of the day.

6am - Wake up whistle

6:10 - go downstairs and assemble for a morning jog

6:30 - come back to dorms, finish folding blankets and get ready for breakfast

6:45 - 2 people from each team go to serve breakfast

7:00 - breakfast

7:30 - come back to dorms to clean (sweep, wipe all surfaces and mop)

8:30 - morning activity; this was usually training but we had classes when the staff felt merciful. Classes included chinese culture, calligraphy, chinese law, literature, etc. sometimes we just sat in the classroom and watched educational videos.)

11:30 - return to dorms and 2 people from each team served lunch

12:00 - lunch

12:30 - afternoon nap

14:00 - wake up whistle, clean dorms again

14:30 - assemble for afternoon activity (again, classes or training)

17:00 - come back to dorms, 2 people from each team go to serve dinner

17:30 - dinner

18:00 - come back from dinner

19:00 - Watch the news and report on it (students are picked to go up in front of everyone and repeat three articles of news and what they thought about it; it's supposed to help those kids who are usually really shy or have trouble speaking in public)

20:00 - assemble outside for exercise; this was our toughest hour. Basically, the staff that was on duty that day could train us however they wanted; laps, duck walk, pushups, squats, bunny hops...)

21:00 - go back to dorms, brush, and sleep

22:00 - lights out

damnbanana15 karma

12:30 - afternoon nap

How do I enroll?

LookThrice7 karma

Haha, in China, it's pretty customary for businesses and schools to have a 1-2 hour period around noontime for lunch and a short nap. :]

They should really implement this into American schools, too. It's actually really nice and it's the only break we get the whole day.

damnbanana4 karma

I think we drink too much coffee in America to nap at lunch. Although if I did have a nap period, I probably wouldn't need the coffee.

Glad you saw your experience as beneficiary, looking at the positives instead of letting the negatives overcome your whole experience; even if that experience was crazy by American standards.

LookThrice5 karma

It was even crazy by Chinese standards, imho. I felt like I took it pretty well, but damn... that first month, I don't know how I even made it through >.<

BZ-B1 karma

Sounds like your Chinese was poor when you were at the bootcamp. How well did you do communicating with the other kids and giving those oral reports in front of the class?

LookThrice2 karma

Actually my oral Chinese was never really bad, I could speak it fluently without an accent. However, I felt really lacking in vocab compared to my English and I had a lot of trouble finding the right words sometimes.

Definitely had trouble giving oral reports. I took all of my notes and whatnot in English, since my Chinese writing is terribad.

Fress3 karma

In my country it's compulsory to serve in the military for either 8-11 months. The schedule you wrote is pretty much spot-on with our basic training.


  • 0600 - Wake up scream
  • 0605 - All units outside in group formation; morning run & exercises
  • 0620 - Making beds, cleaning rooms, hygiene
  • 0700 - Breakfast
  • 0715 - Back in the barracks, other units having breakfast
  • 0800 - Classes start
  • 1230 - Lunch
  • 1250 - Afternoon break, no napping
  • 1330 -Classes
  • 1700 - "Reserved time". During basic they'd use this time to screw with you, to grow discipline etc. Later on we had free time to do sports/read.
  • 1905 - Dinner
  • 2020 - Evening lineup
  • 2100 - News
  • 2120 - Cleaning rooms, hygiene
  • 2200 - lights out

LookThrice2 karma

Yup, sounds about right! I think these kinds of schedules are pretty similar around the world. Oh yea, I forgot that everything we did was in group formations too.

May I ask what country you are from?

Fress2 karma

I'm from Estonia.

It amazes me just how similar they are. I just hope these schools are heavily regulated and checked by the government. It baffles me how you weren't allowed to call/tell anyone if you were being wronged to. We had every chance to write complaints on our COs or even call Minister of Defense if we felt we had been done injustice.

LookThrice6 karma

They are definitely heavily regulated, but of course some things slip by without notice. Sometimes, leaders would come to see the school and sometimes the staff get a little nervous.

If we felt like something was unfair, we could definitely talk to one of the staff. Most of them would actually listen and are generally pretty fair.

subtle_penguin4 karma

ITT: americans completely over reacting to the "abusive" treatments.

LookThrice3 karma

Kind of somewhat expected some people to react like this, tbh. It's all coo.

Netwacky3 karma

Were there any fights whilst you were there (verbal or physical) between pupils?

LookThrice9 karma

Oh definitely. We lived in close quarters at all times and it was rather easy to get into disagreements. I consider myself to have a very good temper, and I felt tested a LOT

Physical fights are usually broken up VERY quickly, as students and staff all step in. Usually the punishment is very severe. This one time, two females got into a fight and the whole school had to do squats for the entire day (squat down, stand up. squat down stand up) I'm pretty sure we did over 2000 of those that day. Their logic was, if girls can get into fights like this, then the guys would basically be killing each other eventually. So they did some preemptive punishment for the whole school to enjoy :]

orangetreeee3 karma

I'd imagine some of the students were unable to keep up after a few hundred or a thousand - what happens if a student is simply physically incapable of continuing, or just refuses to continue?

LookThrice3 karma

Usually they just make you do something else; if you're tired from pushups, you do squats. If you're tired from squats, you can do pushups. Sometimes the nicer staff just have students walk or jog in circles.

The worst case I've seen of this was when a thirteen year old was behaving badly (and I mean he had serious temper issues, was spoiled by his grandparents growing up. He threw one of the food trays across the cafeteria and almost got into a fight) and he was punished by him planking in pushup position and putting his feet on the guardrails on one of the beds. When he couldn't hold it up, some of the other students had to put his feet back up. Eventually we just tied his feet to the rails with a belt lol. But yea, things like that.

But during normal exercises, you don't stop unless everyone else does. You have to be doing SOMETHING.

Errorizer2 karma

These two quotes from OP juxtapositioned seem.... kind of weird, to say it mildly:

"he was punished by him planking in pushup position and putting his feet on the guardrails on one of the beds. When he couldn't hold it up, some of the other students had to put his feet back up. Eventually we just tied his feet to the rails with a belt lol."

"I behaved generally really well. I became the class monitor (Ban zhang in Chinese) around the 2 month mark, which entailed leading the team in activities and ordering the team around when it came to cleaning our dorms or the mess hall. I could also punish students with exercises if they didn't comply."

Reminds me all too much of serious psychological issues that usually arise in similar situations

LookThrice2 karma

Even though I could have punished kids in my team, I almost never used that privilege. They usually listened to me, since I would actually ask nicely for them to do things.

Most of the more severe punishments around the school were ordered and carried out by the staff, like that thirteen year old. We as class monitors usually just enforce.

ObviouslyCurious1 karma

I would be so scared...

LookThrice1 karma

Yea, sometimes you just keep going just because you're scared of what happens if you don't. :x

michaeltastyanal3 karma

How was the food?

LookThrice6 karma

http://i.imgur.com/pPmmHVQ.jpg That was the table where I ate, we had rice or buns. They made huge pots of the veggies and you don't get more than what you have on your plate. Barely any meat, they literally put one or two pieces of meat on your plate so you can't say you didn't get meat while you were there lol. If you ran out of buns, you can get more, so you can't really say they let you go hungry. I lost 15 pounds while I was here, and I was one of the more healthy ones heh.

michaeltastyanal1 karma

Sounds little rough but I guess it could have been worse. I wonder how it would compare to other places like in the US and such.

LookThrice2 karma

Yea, the food could have been a lot worse. We all knew the food was shit and they tried to feed all of us by spending as little as possible.

We did get snacks occasionally, family of students would send care packages with clothes and food. But seriously though: apples, bananas, chips, ramen, etc looked SO GOOD when I was there, there was at least a couple fights in the school over food alone.

DT60003 karma

This is fascinating. What area of the US are you from? Are there other families who send their children to these camps where you live?

LookThrice3 karma

I'm from Houston, Texas. Not as far as I know, my mom joked this one time about sending my friends there and I gave her the irl version of ಠ_ಠ

DT60002 karma


What would happen if you demanded to be released? Did you ask to go free?

Are your parents afraid of law enforcement finding out? Did they tell you to be quiet about the whole thing?

LookThrice3 karma

I've never personally asked to be let go, but I've seen some other kids do it. The reactions are what I expected to get: they just laugh at you lol

I've never asked my parents if they were afraid of law enforcement finding out; I guess that's a card I can play now in case we get into disagreements! They said to keep it on the down-low, but they don't mind me talking about it with my friends. BUT LITTLE DO THEY KNOW ALL OF REDDIT IS MY FRIEND. Just kidding, they're cool with it as long as I'm cool with it.

DT60001 karma

Ok. Thanks for answering my questions!

Just one more. Did your parents go back to the US while you were in the camp? 4 months is a longtime to be sitting at grandmas house waiting for you to get out of Internet prison camp.

LookThrice2 karma

Yup, my mom left a few days after sending me there. My dad had work in the United States. Two of my cousins and my mom drove me to the school.

And no problem, thanks for the questions!

sl00k3 karma


LookThrice11 karma

Haha, a lot of the kids and staff called me "the American," or 美国人 (mei guo ren) in Chinese. I definitely got treated differently, but honestly a lot of it was joking and humorous. I basically look and talk like a Chinese person, you literally wouldn't know I was an American citizen unless I told you.

With that being said, they were all generally really nice; they'd ask me lots of questions about life in the United States; how were the girls here, how expensive everything was and if I could convert it to Chinese yuan, are all Americans really fat; things like that.

tumblrneeds2 karma

What was it like why were you there how did they hurt you are you asian do you like chinese food and my foot itches

LookThrice3 karma

It was tough they didn't hurt me I am asian I love Chinese food here's a foot scratcher

BSF2 karma

You mentioned in other replies that you improved your Chinese at this camp, so my question is how much Chinese did you know before entering the boot camp?

LookThrice2 karma

My listening was good enough to understand 95%+ of what people said and enough to get by in most areas of China.

My Putonghua doesn't have an accent, but I didn't learn much vocab while in the United States, so I probably spoke with the vocabulary of a middle schooler.

Jimmyxu2 karma

What is your LoL username??

LookThrice1 karma

Ąndy <note the weird A

DT60002 karma

Were there anymore Americans or people from other countries there previously, during or after your stay?

LookThrice3 karma

Nope, I was their first and so far only foreign citizen.

Actually, my second month there, a TON of reporters came and interviewed me. I'm pretty sure I was on a couple of news segments. lol

JayGroozy1 karma

Either before or after you arrived at the facility did you ever consider trying to escape to the US embassy even without a passport? Although I suppose that could be very dangerous and more frightening than the camp itself.

LookThrice4 karma

Yea they have many ways of discouraging students from running away... the biggest one being the 30 foot wall that surrounded the school. In addition, in the school's history, only a handful of students were able to run away, and even fewer stay hidden long enough for the school to give up trying to find them.

Me being completely unfamiliar with the area, I wouldn't even know where the hell an American embassy was. I also didn't know how to say "American embassy" in Chinese, so even if I was able to get over the wall or out one of the barred windows, I wouldn't know where to go or how to stay alive long enough to get back to somewhere I was familiar with.

Tough biscuit. :\

JayGroozy1 karma

Was there any moment after you found out, but before you arrived at the camp, that you thought about it? Even if you knew exactly where the embassy was the thought of being turned away by Marines at the gate must be terrifying

LookThrice3 karma

Yea, I did think about it but I just didn't have the guts because I didn't know my way around China really well. And we were in the middle of nowhere most of the time, since we drove straight from my grandparents' rural home to the school.

ObviouslyCurious1 karma

Was there any punishment for a bad mark on an assignment?

LookThrice2 karma

We didn't really have and grades at the school. The classes were BS for taking up time and almost everyone knew it :3

With that being said, it is definitely possible to learn a thing or two out of them if you're willing and attentive (which most of the students weren't)

savory_smegma1 karma

I used to live in Qingdao, and I know how cold the winters can get. How did y'all deal with the cold?

LookThrice5 karma

Oh nice, yea I think a couple of the students there were from Qingdao.

I actually just wore a hoodie and a sweater most of the time underneath my camo uniforms. Once you start exercising, your body warms up a lot. We had heating in our dorms, but it was freezingfucking cold when we had to go into the classrooms.

When sleeping, we had extra blankets so it was manageable. I think the coldest moments were when we had to wash our clothes in near freezing water. Some kids were just like: "fuck it I'll just do some extra exercises and stink for a week. I ain't touching that water."

savory_smegma2 karma

Having been to countless internet cafes in Qingdao I'd imagine there's a huge demand for camps like this. All day everyday the cafes were packed out with teenage boys smoking, cursing, and playing video games. It's all they would do. It was quite a depressing. I learned a lot of new Chinese curse words though.

LookThrice4 karma

Yea, I wouldn't be surprised if some of them ended up at this school lol.

They do all swear a lot... I picked up some, too. Hey we can be Chinese swearing buddies.

savory_smegma2 karma

Xia biiiiiiii!!!!!!

LookThrice3 karma

Cao ni ma!

savory_smegma3 karma

She is a lovely woman!!! haha

LookThrice2 karma

haha xD

Swearing in Chinese is definitely fun. I miss saying "CAO!" at almost everything.

krewetka1 karma

You have said before that such schools are legal in China. Wikipedia says that age of majority in China is 18 (although this is wikipedia, so it might be wrong). And you say some students were as old as 31. So, can you keep anyone against their will in such insitutions? As long as student's parents are still alive and want to put him into the school?

Also I just wanted to say that you are a really good son because you are not taking any action against your parents, even though they did this thing to you.

LookThrice2 karma

Hmmm I'm not completely sure about Chinese law, but I know that officials have come onto the school and seen it. I don't know if they know that people over 18 are being held against their will, but they definitely aren't really doing anything about it. I guess whoever's parents wants to put you here and has the money to do it (it's pretty expensive by Chinese standards) can keep you here if they have a good reason to. :\

And thanks, I guess I'm a good son now but I definitely was not based off my behavior from before xD

LookThrice1 karma

Yup! How did you find this? lol

PureS0u11 karma

Do you still keep in touch with anyone from the bootcamp?

LookThrice1 karma

I haven't really tried, and none of them really tried to keep in touch with me. I guess we all realized that even though we could probably stay in touch, it would be kind of pointless since I'd be in the US and they would be in China...

SnookSnook1 karma

Are you glad that you went?

And interested in this "only your parents" can pick you up from the school- are there lifers???

LookThrice6 karma

Now, I'm really glad that I went. I used to not work out at all, and I think this was a really good way to get me to work out heh

I also improved a lot on my Chinese and I can read a lot better now and I learned a bunch of slang/swear words from the kids/staff there lolol

The usual stay is 4 months; that's when the staff would tell your parents: hey, pick your kid up; and most of the time, parents do. However, I've seen some kids stay 6 months or more and some even get sent back if they don't behave after leaving the school. I believe the record for one single stay was one year and 8 months, from what I was told.

SnookSnook2 karma

Would you ever consider sending your own child to a similar camp?

LookThrice10 karma

I'd definitely threaten to send them to something like this if they misbehave. >:]

I honestly hope my kids turn out better than I did; I had such a good start in college and I blew it all being lazy and unorganized.

SnookSnook1 karma

Have you told your offline friends about your experience? Curious as to what they thought happened to you when you disappeared for a couple of months.

LookThrice3 karma

Yea, a lot of my friends wondered where the hell I went. I was online on facebook/Skype a lot, and completely disappearing for four months is kind of suspicious.

I guess I'm making this AMA for a lot of my offline friends to see, too. I've been adjusting and getting my life in order and I feel like I'm ready to answer basically anything truthfully at this point. :D

MarvinsDiodes1 karma

Do you know what Stockholm Syndrome is?

If not, please look it up.

Based on your comments here, there's a good chance you have it.

LookThrice6 karma

I do know what it is. Like I said before, I've already left this place and if you are referring to my parents; they are my parents after all and I kind of have to at least show them some sort of respect for at least bringing me up for 21 years.

fustercluck11 karma

What was your reaction when you first realized what your parents had done?

LookThrice7 karma

Text all my closest friends and tell them where to find my body.

Then cried all night lol.

110_115_1201 karma

What did your friends do, if anything?

LookThrice1 karma

Not much they could do; I asked for some of their addresses so I could maybe send them mail in the future.