The parents of this three-year-old Chinese girl have had their social media account closed after they were accused of using it to force-feed the toddler with fried chicken and hamburgers to gain more likes.
The girl named Peiqi already weighs around 35 kilogrammes (77 lbs) and her parents, who have not been named in reports, had announced they were feeding her up in the hopes she reached 50 kilogrammes (110 lbs) soon, according to Chengdu-based Red Star News.
The parents uploaded videos of their daughter onto social media in the hopes of monetising the content, with Red Star News reporting they posted the majority of her videos on Xigua Video, a video-sharing platform created by Beijing-based ByteDance, which also owns Douyin and TikTok.
Chinese state media outlet Global Times report the parents set up the account on Xigua Video in October 2019 and would upload videos of her eating foods from fried chicken, hamburgers, and sausages to instant noodles and grilled meats.
Global Times report in one video Peiqi, who was born on 21st March 2017, begged her parents to stop feeding her but they continued anyway, force-feeding their own daughter.
Huang Jianfeng, a paediatrician based in Shanghai, confirmed to Global Times the three-year-old is overweight for her age.
He said that childhood obesity can be a precursor to diabetes and hypertension, as well as being closely linked to cardiovascular disease in adult life.
He added: “Parents should not use their children as ‘cash cows’ to attract attention and make money, as it will have a negative impact on society.”
Xigua Video have shut down Peiqi’s account, run by her parents, after users expressed overwhelming concern about her parents’ behaviour, the platform told Red Star News. However, it was unclear whether the ban would be permanent.
Global Times report more than 130,000 agreed on a survey on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, that the behaviour of the parents was harming the child’s health with some reports stating Peiqi struggles to walk.
It is unclear if the authorities have been made aware of the incident or where in China the parents live.
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