Aidan Fenton, 7, died after his parents reportedly took him to a $1,800 week-long “slapping therapy” workshop in Hurstville, Australia.
Aidan had diabetes, but his parents apparently hoped his condition could be slapped away by the alternative Chinese medicine teachings of Hongchi Xiao (videos below).
According to The Daily Telegraph, people in the seminar were supposed to not eat for three days, undergo stretching and slapping, and endure vomiting and bouts of dizziness, which was supposed to cure sickness and cleanse their bodies of poisons.
Xiao reportedly claimed Aidan appeared to be fine while taking the classes and had eaten rice. However, Aidan became ill Monday evening after Xiao had left to go to dinner, the Daily Telegraph reports.
A police spokesman gave a detailed account of what transpired Monday night to the Daily Mail Australia:
At about 9.50 p.m. on Monday, April 28, emergency services were called to a hotel in Hurstville after a family member found a 7-year-old boy in an unconscious state. An investigation into the boy’s death is now underway. While initial inquiries indicate the boy had a chronic medical condition. Police are awaiting post-mortem test to determine the cause of his death. Police are continuing to interview witnesses and the matter will ultimately be handed to the coroner for ruling.
Police are investigating whether or not Xiao told Aidan's parents to take him off his life-saving insulin and engage in the slapping and stretching exercises. Xiao had reportedly already left Australia.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Xiao was fined and deported from Taiwan in 2011 for violating medical laws.
Chinese media sources claimed the family of a man with liver cancer told police the man died three months after attending Xiao’s classes.