Authorities in China detained a woman suspected of abusing children at a Beijing kindergarten run by a US-listed company in a case that has caused nationwide anger. Police in Beijing's Chaoyang district said in a statement Saturday that an investigation into a kindergarten run by Beijing-based RYB Education has led to the criminal detention of a 22-year-old female teacher on suspicion of abusing children. The statement, posted on the district police account on the Sina Weibo microblog platform, identified the woman only by her surname, Liu—CNN notes Chinese police often don't provide suspects' full names—and didn't provide further details on her. RYB Education, meanwhile, said it was "extremely shocked and distressed" about the crimes the teacher is suspected of committing. The statement didn't provide details of Liu's alleged abuses.
RYB said it had fired Liu, removed the head of the kindergarten, and is cooperating with further investigations. It also said the company is hiring doctors and psychologists to aid the children who'd been affected, as well as inspecting other branches. The Beijing scandal erupted after local media quoted parents as saying their children were forced to strip as punishment and were found with unexplained apparent needle marks on their bodies. The claims couldn't be independently verified. Chaoyang police said a 31-year-old Beijing woman, who Reuters notes is also surnamed Liu, was detained after admitting to spreading false info about the involvement of a military regiment in sexually abusing the children. The statement said the woman expressed "deep regret" for her actions. RYB and its franchisees operate 1,300 day care centers and nearly 500 kindergartens in 300 Chinese cities.