A diabetic boy in Australia died after a controversial ‘self-healing’ course. Now his parents are charged with manslaughter.

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By Samantha Schmidt

In April 2015, the 6-year-old diabetic boy’s mother took him to an $1,800 week-long Chinese therapy class meant to “heal” him.

At the “self-healing” workshop in Sydney, a man named Hongchi Xiao instructed participants to follow “paida lajin” techniques, which involve slapping, stretching and fasting for days on end. By slapping parts of the body until bruising appears, long-held toxins and “poisoned blood” are released, according to the practice. These methods, Xiao claims, are capable of “curing” a number of diseases — including diabetes.

But in the days after he attended the workshop, the 6-year-old, Aidan Fenton, collapsed in the family’s hotel room. His parents’ screams prompted the staff to call police, who said the boy died on the scene.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. I am a doctor (neurologist) and although I believe that certain non-western medical practices can be helpful, what this idiot advocates is downright dangerous and, as can be read, lethal. I don´t see why just the parents are being charged. He should be charged also. I know I would be charged if I told my patients to not take their insulin and they then died of diabetic complications. As I should be.
    How gullible and stupid can these parents be to deny their child life-saving treatment. It is sad they lost their child in this way, but I gather it was totally avoidable and they therefor are rightly charged with manslaughter (I would even go as far as saying, they should be charged with murder for denying him his medicine, which would have had (and has had) foreseeable complications).

    I know that our western medicine cannot treat and heal everybody, but at least it´s evidence-based, which a lot of other medical treatments are not. It´s up to the authorities to stop these people from teaching this kind of crap in seminars or on the internet or wherever and charge them in case an individual comes to die because of their non-treatment.

  2. Anti-theist preacher #1
    Mar 20, 2017 at 11:41 am

    I am a doctor (neurologist) and although I believe that certain non-western medical practices can be helpful, what this idiot advocates is downright dangerous and, as can be read, lethal. I don´t see why just the parents are being charged. He should be charged also. I know I would be charged if I told my patients to not take their insulin and they then died of diabetic complications. As I should be.

    If the authorities don’t arrest this quack on criminal charges, at least some family members should sue him for taking money under under false pretences on the basis of fraudulent claims.

    @OP – In April 2015, the 6-year-old diabetic boy’s mother took him to an $1,800 week-long Chinese therapy class meant to “heal” him.

    . . . . . and claim compensation for substantially more than the amount he charged! (Motor insurers are likely to have a scale of compensation rates for deaths arising from dangerous driving which could be useful for comparison.)

  3. How gullible and stupid can these parents be to deny their child life-saving treatment?

    Is it helpful to anyone to equate the parents’ suggestibility – their state of mind as loving guardians who may be ignorant of medicine (and how many of us really understand that) of a defenceless infant, with a serious illness – and their intelligence?

    I gather it was totally avoidable …

    The facts would appear to suggest that it was, at best, very difficult for the parents to avoud the tragic conclusion.

    … they therefor are rightly charged with manslaughter …

    I feel sure that the court is most greatful for your achieving a result that it will take them months to achieve. How efficient.

    On the basis of the evidence so far presented I have only one question: Where is the fraud charge against Xiao?

  4. Well, it seems that Xiao has finally been arrested. From the article above:

    But in November, Xiao was arrested by police in the United Kingdom on suspicion of manslaughter in connection to another death.

    Also from the article:

    The parents, a 56-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman, were believed to have deliberately denied the boy food and medicine, authorities told the Sydney Morning Herald.

    Brainwashed ignorant parents? You bet! Immune from the legal consequences of their cruel deliberate actions? Nope.

  5. Charging Xiao is all well and good, but it’s closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

    It’s pretty clear cut, you don’t need to be an MD to predict what’s going to happen when you deprive a diabetic of their medicine and substitute fasting and self-abuse.

    He’s been giving out “medical” advice and charging for it, and presumably has done so for a while, so why didn’t the state intervene earlier (assuming he doesn’t have a medical degree/license, why seems likely though not certain)?

  6. Charging Xiao is all well and good, but it’s closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

    Not entirely. It is a warning to similar peddlers of distractions from proper medical treatment. But, even so…

    I hate making new laws if an existing law can be extended in principle, but this may be a case for a new class of child protection legislation, requiring child care best efforts based on currently perceived best practice. I think such a set of laws might be ushered in in support of Universal Healthcare for all Children in the US. THIS is the decent and value for money place to start for with Universal healthcare. Grown ups can make stupid choices for themselves, and vote against their own good value for money health as much as they like, but kids didn’t ask to be born and subjected to such monstrosities. Kids are free too. They are not property but an obligation. Its not parental best efforts they deserve as a de minimis position, but state best efforts.

  7. LaurieB #4
    Mar 20, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    Well, it seems that Xiao has finally been arrested. From the article above:

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/nov/14/danielle-carr-gomm-slapping-therapy-workshop-death-three-people-arrested-wiltshire
    The Guardian – Matthew Weaver Monday 14 November 2016 15.48 GMT

    Three people have been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after a diabetic woman died following a workshop based around slapping as a form of “self-healing”.

    Danielle Carr-Gomm, 71, was found dead in her room on 20 October at Cleeve House in Seend, Wiltshire.

    An inquest was opened and adjourned on Friday. Wiltshire police are treating Carr-Gomm’s death as suspicious and confirmed the arrest of three people, who have been released on bail until mid-January.

    “Police were called to an address in Seend in the early hours of 20 October following the sudden death of a woman,” a spokeswoman for the force said.
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    “Inquiries are continuing. A 64-year-old woman, a 53-year-old man and a 51-year-old man have been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.”

    It is understood that one of those arrested was Hongchi Xiao, a Chinese therapist running the paida lajin retreat. He promotes the controversial therapy as a way of purging toxins from patients by slapping them or getting them to slap themselves.

    Last year, Hongchi was questioned by police in Australia after the death of a seven-year-old boy from Sydney who had attended one of his workshops.

    @OP – In April 2015, the 6-year-old diabetic boy’s mother took him to an $1,800 week-long Chinese therapy class meant to “heal” him.

    It seems Hongchi Xiao escaped to England to carry on his quackery!

  8. I have HIV. In the early days, friends and acquaintances pressed all manner of crazy cures on me that did not work. There was no official treatment. This could be justified rationally were it not for the negative side effects.

    When there is a recognised treatment, you can only justify pushing an alternative treatment if it works. Persisting when it does not is murder. The problem is people get the nutty idea it SHOULD work, and persist long after it is clear the treatment is bogus. Those people are not criminal, they are crazy. They need to be blocked from influencing the medical treatment of others.

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