A Chinese teenager sent to an internet rehabilitation camp by his parents has been allegedly beaten to death by the camp's counsellors, according to media reports.

Parents of teenager Deng Senshan told the China Daily they have asked regional authorities to investigate their son's death.

The teenager's father Deng Fei told Chinese newspaper The Global Times he paid 7,000 yuan ($1,100 Cdn) for one month of training at the Guangxi Qihang Survival Training Camp in the hopes of ridding his son of his internet addiction.

The camp had promised to keep the teenager under constant supervision. The camp's mission statement said its methods were tough but "do not include torture", The Global Times reported.

Both the China Daily and Global Times report police have detained suspects in connection with the death, but no arrests have been reported.

China has struggled in recent years with how to deal with what the government sees as a growing internet addiction problem among its estimated 300 million internet users.

Electroshock therapy banned

But methods to deal with the issue have been controversial.

In July, the China Daily reported the Chinese Ministry of Health had banned the use of electroshock therapy as a treatment method after reports surfaced of a clinic in Linyi, Shandong province, that used the method.

The government has repeatedly cracked down on internet cafés, particularly after high-profile incidents brought internet use among youth to national attention. In 2002, authorities took action after a fire broke out in a Beijing internet café, killing 24 people.

In 2004, the government also shut down 8,600 unlicensed internet cafés after two middle school pupils fell asleep on a railway line and were run over following a 48-hour internet session.

In May, China ordered computer manufacturers to install internet filtering software they said would block violent and obscene material, but privacy advocates argued could be used to block dissenting opinions or content deemed politically objectionable.

However, the government delayed the plan after pressure from hardware manufacturers and U.S. trade representatives.