Yesterday, a video of a little girl no older than six years-old kowtowing to her mother repeatedly outside Tai hing Sports Hall in Tuen Mun went viral.
The video, filmed at around 11am, shows the child kowtowing whilst apologising profusely while her mother yelled at her for not paying attention during her badminton practice, Apple Daily reports.
A local student, surnamed Cheng, witnessed and filmed the incident as he left the Sports Hall after a basketball game and says the mother furiously odered her daughter repeatedly to “stop following her” and to “go away."
"I heard once a sound as the girl banged her head on the ground in a kowtow, but could not see whether that injured her forehead," said Cheng.
The video also shows a man with a blue umbrella who, before Cheng began the recording, had walked up to the mother and daughter pair to try to reason with the mother and to ask her to stop. The mother paid him no attention and carried on scolding, and the man walks away.
An hour later, the pair were spotted again at a library. There, the girl was still apologising while her mother stood by and ignored her. Witnesses reported the mother not responding to her daughter's apologies until she girl once again dropped to her knees to kowtow to her mother. A witness said the girl seemed frightened of her mother and broke out in tears.
"(It seemed) the mother was not satisfied until her daughter was kowtowing, and losing face in public," said a witness. "After the girl kowtowed, the pair left."
According to Apple Daily, a psychiatrist says parents who force children to kowtow as way of apology may affect the child's confidence and later development. The psychiatrist also suspects that those who parent this way do so as a way to show off their power and authority, or to release their own anger or frustrations upon the child.