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Cat abuse case outrages Chinese

BEIJING, May 28 (Xinhua) -- A young woman who killed and dismembered a kitten and posted the bloody pictures on the Internet has angered many in China, a country that has witnessed a host of animal abuse cases in recent years.

Li Pingping, a former marketing consultant at Chengzi Culture Communication Co., Ltd. in Huizhou City in south China's Guangdong Province, beheaded a baby cat in her bathroom on Friday night, less than two weeks after she bought it. Li posted horrific pictures of the dismembered cat later that night to Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

As the photos went viral, Chinese 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 challenged the public by saying she vented her anger toward the cat, claiming that her family had been destroyed by an extra-marital affair by her father. She said people should "back off" and stop judging her, fueling even more resentment. Li later deleted all her posts related to the case.

As pressure from the public mounted, Li apologized in an open letter on Monday afternoon, 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 had drawn more than 60,000 comments by Tuesday afternoon.

Weibo user "Mengmengdenaier" said that the woman apologized simply because she is scared of public criticism, rather than thinking what she did was wrong.

"What you did disqualifies you as a human being," wrote another user with the screenname "Laojiudehuanggua."

Some appear to be more tolerant, saying that since the woman has apologized, they would stop criticizing her.

"I just hope that the wrong way of venting emotions could be avoided in the future," wrote Weibo user "tubeGhost."

Stories of animal abuse have made headlines in China in recent years, causing a wave of public fury.

In April, around one hundred stray dogs were allegedly buried alive in a pit near a garbage dump in Alxa Left Banner, which is under the jurisdiction of Alxa League in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Rumors on the Internet said that the local chengguan, or urban management officers, had buried the dogs alive, although the city management bureau denied such cruelty.

In May 2013, dozens of stray cats were abused and slaughtered in a residential district in Beijing, with the fur of the animals almost completely plucked out.

Sun Daqiang, a professor of psychology with Beijing Normal University, said that the reason behind animal abuse is that many people cannot find a proper way to channel their suppressed emotions, and they tend to release their feelings by attacking things that appear to be weaker than humans, such as cats and dogs.

"A good number of people think that as long as they don't attack human beings, everything else is fine, which leads to frequent animal abuse cases," Sun said.

Sun added that it is necessary to probe the psychological factors that contributed to the brutality if such violent acts are to be eradicated.

Luo Guo'an, a research fellow with the Guangxi Academy of Social Sciences, said that the public should enhance their awareness of protecting animals, as their lives are also precious.

"The media should step up efforts to promote the welfare of animals," Luo said.

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