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Chinese parents are accused of ‘forcing their daughter to perform online eating shows to make money’

Two parents in China have faced heavy backlash after being accused by web users of forcing their little daughter to perform eating shows online to earn money.

Footage and pictures have recently surfaced of the three-year-old girl, nicknamed Pei Qi, appearing to be heavily overweight as she devoured plates of food in front of the camera.

Pei Qi’s parents, who uploaded the content online, were criticised by millions of angered netizens who slammed them for ‘abusing their daughter’ and ‘using her as a cash cow’.

The incident has sparked heated discussions on Chinese social media this week after web users shared screenshots of Pei Qi’s eating videos.

The images suggested Pei Qi’s mother had been uploading videos of her daughter since 2018 on Xigua Video, a Chinese streaming platform.

Footage shows the little Chinese girl sitting in front of the camera while eating large portions of dumplings, noodles or cake.

The clips were reminiscent of Mukbang, a popular online phenomenon originated in South Korea and loosely translated as ‘eating broadcast’.

Many of Pei Qi’s videos were said to be very popular, including one amassing 550,000 views.

Concerns were raised as people noticed the three-year-old child looking much heavier than her peers. The title of one recent video claimed that Pei Qi weighed 35 kilograms (77 pounds).

Media reports also claimed that in one video, Pei Qi told her parents to ‘stop feeding her’ but ‘her plate was immediately filled again’.

The incident quickly became a trending topic on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter. Millions of web users accused the parents of forcing Pei Qi to make such eating videos in a bid to generate revenue.

One commenter wrote: ‘The parents are using the child as a cash cow. They don’t care about the child’s health and wellbeing at all!’

Another said: ‘This is child abuse! Some people don’t deserve to be parents. This is making me so angry!’

A third user replied: ‘The authorities need to investigate this and severely punish the parents. Are you sure they are the birth parents?’

The little girl’s video channel was removed from the site after the incident sparked an uproar online.

Pei Qi’s parents have denied the accusations, claiming that their daughter had been healthy and they had filmed the videos for fun.

‘Our videos not only included her eating food, as well her losing weight and dancing,’ the mother told reporters. 

‘[She’s] my birth child, why would I intentionally feed her that much? She has always been a big child.’

The girl’s father told Chinese media: ‘We did make a little bit of profit, maybe a few hundred yuan, but that is just a number to us.’

All-China Women’s Federation, an official organisation that protects the rights and welfare of women and children, has launched an investigation into the incident, reports said.

The authorities confirmed to Chinese media that the family lived in Guangzhou of southern China as a local branch is looking into the matter.

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