UPDATE: The Scotsman has made it official, it's child abuse: "...Photographs showed Li, wearing a skirted swimsuit, being picked up out of the water by her father. Her ankles were tied together with string and her hands were bound by a strip of cloth. A newspaper report said the girl was so cold her face was blue..." [Link]
The BBC had this to add: "...Bystanders accused the girl's parents of abusing and exploiting her, Xinhua said. [Link]
I was going to post five more links and several paragraphs but I will spare you my typos and bad grammar for a two paragraph summation. Girl swims with bound hands, feet tied. "...A father tied his 10-year-old daughter's hands and feet and watched her swim in a chilly southern China river for three hours in a task he said Thursday would help the girl achieve her dream of swimming across the English Channel....": [Link]
Seven year old swims from Alcatraz: [Link]
I simply call these kids child abuse victims for accomplishments like this smell of "Little League syndrome" on crack. When I read about kids swimming channels and such or vast open water stretches, I immediately believe they are more likely than not talked into it by their parents for what 8-year-old kid even knows where or what the Channel Islands are? What kid knows the significance of an Alcatraz swim let alone its history, how cold it is, how serious a swim it is et cetera when according to a National Geographic study half of American students can't find New York on a map and 63% can't find Iraq either. [reference: Link]
So, where did the motivation for an 8-year-old to swim all across creation come from? Two years ago these kids couldn't even read but now they know where and what the English channel is and what sort of wetsuit is needed for Alcatraz. Yeah, it smells of "Little League syndrome."