Police arrested two teachers in China's Zhejiang province this week after a photo circulated on the country's microblogging site Weibo showed one of them lifting a student by his ears, the BBC reported.
Yan Yanhong reportedly told police she did it "for fun."
The image of the young boy screaming in pain sparked an outcry, and soon Weibo users embarked on a so-called "human flesh search," scouring the Internet for the teacher's personal details.
On her blog, netizens unearthed further images depicting the abuse of children in her classroom, including a boy whose mouth has been covered in scotch tape, a boy upside-down in a trash bin and another who appears to have been forced to kowtow face-down on the floor, according to the local site Ministry of Tofu.
An increase in violence against schoolchildren prompted China’s Ministry of Education to propose a national ban against corporal punishment in June, Chinese news service Xinhua said. But the incident is yet another example of the power of the country's sprawling Weibo network to incite public outrage and spark police investigations over what would otherwise be considered obscure and random incidents.
Last month, a Chinese safety official was fired after images circulated on Weibo showed him smiling at the scene of a bus crash that killed 36 people and wearing luxury watches, which some Weibo users felt was evidence of corruption.