A seven-year-old boy in Puyang City, in China's Henan province, was discovered living in his family's pig pen.
According to online reports, the young boy was found by a charity group volunteer and a reporter for a local newspaper.
The boy, named Little Hongbo, was forced to sleep in the pen all year round, including during winter, and was unable to speak despite his age. His head was also covered with scars and bruises from beatings by his mother, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.
According to Chinese news portal NetEase, the boy is from a poor family and his father, a pig farmer, is the family's sole provider. The boy's mother suffers from a mental disorder.
Neighbours claim they often hear the mother taking Little Hongbo's head and knocking it against the door or the floor, SCMP reported.
The story and pictures of the boy provoked outrage among Chinese social media users, though it was not clear what would happen to the boy or his parents.
The incident is the latest in a series of cases concerning the poor treatment of children in China. In June, it was reported that a 16-year-old girl in Jilin province was chained in a cabin for five years.
Another case that recently emerged involved the suicide of four siblings, aged between five and 13, who were reportedly left unattended by their parents for months.