Chinese woman beheads kitten, posts pictures online, stirs outrage

A Chinese woman sparked online fury after beheading a kitten last week and posting pictures of its bloody remains online. According to reports, the woman, identified as Li Pingping, decapitated a cat in her bathroom Friday. The animal had been in her possession for only two weeks. That same night, Li, who lives in a city in China's southern Guangdong province, posted pictures on Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter.

The post soon went viral, with enraged commenters hurling abuse at Li. A few outlets picked up on the online backlash — "MAY GOD PUNISH HER!" screamed a headline on the Malaysia Chronicle. Here's China Daily on what followed:

Netizens unleashed a flurry of comments decrying the brutal act, with many calling the woman "insane" and "out of her mind."

Amid the flood of verbal attacks, the woman said she took her anger out on the cat because her family had been destroyed by her father's extramarital affair. She told people to "back off" and stop judging her, which fueled even more online resentment.

Li later deleted her posts related to her abuse of the kitten.

But as pressure from the public mounted, Li apologized in an open letter on Monday in which she said she abused the cat under the influence of alcohol and domestic misfortune, and that she has been living in fear and guilt over the past few days. The letter drew more than 60,000 comments by Tuesday.

Reports do not indicate whether Li is under threat of punishment or arrest by authorities.

But the incident is far from an isolated one. Another report this week claimed that a man in Zhejiang province, in China's east, smashed the heads of seven puppies in front of their mother. The mother is at a shelter for strays and will be reportedly put down in a few days.

In the past year, other stories of animal abuse have stirred outrage in China and abroad: the bludgeoning of two escaped Tibetan mastiffs by an entire fearful village last November; the mysterious slaughter of stray cats in a famous Beijing park; and the reported discovery last month of a mass grave of some 100 stray dogs in Inner Mongolia, many of whom were buried alive.

Ishaan Tharoor writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. He previously was a senior editor at TIME, based first in Hong Kong and later in New York.
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