Under pressure, and with the riches of national glory as a carrot, parents surrender their children to the sports factories, where they are sealed off from their families for years. Having not seen her son in three years, in , the mother of Yang Wenjun, a canoeing champion, told The New York Times, "Every time I think about him training, I feel so sad that my heart hurts. For him, and for me, there is so much pain."
Yang has said he cannot escape the system. They won't let him out -- and he's 24.