Chinese medicine practitioner guilty of manslaughter over six-year-old's death

Hong Chi Xiao, right, has been found guilty of manslaughter after a six-year-old died, bottom left, following a "slapping healing" workshop. Pictures: Facebook, Nine News
Hong Chi Xiao, right, has been found guilty of manslaughter after a six-year-old died, bottom left, following a "slapping healing" workshop. Pictures: Facebook, Nine News

A Chinese medicine practitioner who claimed slapping and stretching could cure diabetes has been found guilty of manslaughter after a six-year-old boy died following a "slapping healing" workshop four years ago.

The boy, who cannot be named, had type 1 diabetes and was given his final insulin injection on April 22, 2015, at the beginning of a week-long workshop at Hurstville

He died five days later, after he began to vomit a black-coloured substance and became so weak he was pushed around in a pram. On the day of his death, when he could not talk or open his eyes, participants at the workshop slapped his arms to wake him up.

The boy was also slapped on the arms that evening, after he had a seizure and laid on a hotel bed unconscious and not breathing. He died from diabetic ketoacidosis, a build-up of acid in the body after no insulin is administered.

Hong Chi Xiao, 56, was charged with manslaughter over the boy's death, with the Crown arguing Xiao owed the boy a duty of care which he breached through gross negligence.

On Friday, a jury found him guilty following a trial in the NSW District Court.

Xiao initially faced trial last year, but those proceedings were aborted after he sacked his legal team. The boy's mother, father and maternal grandmother were also accused of manslaughter in a trial last year; all three were found not guilty.

The boy's parents enrolled him in Xiao's workshop with the hope of "curing" his diabetes, because he was tired of being injected with insulin four times a day. As part of the workshop he was made to fast for three days, before he was finally allowed to eat again on the day he died.

The first trial heard Xiao told the boy's mother that she should not give him any more insulin, because "medicine is poison, Western medicine cannot cure you".

As the boy's health deteriorated and he started vomiting, Xiao told the boy's mother that toxins were being released from his body and it was a positive sign, not a negative one, the court was told.

Xiao denied making such comments.

He will return to court on Friday for a sentencing date to be set.

Earlier this month a court in England issued a warrant for Xiao's arrest over the alleged gross negligence manslaughter of a woman who attended one of his workshops in 2016. The woman's son told British media the 71-year-old also had diabetes and attended a week-long workshop in England's south-west in an attempt to "cure" the condition.

British police said they will "work with the relevant agencies" to have Xiao stand trial over the woman's death.

This story Chinese medicine practitioner guilty of boy's manslaughter at Hurstville workshop first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.