A video of a pet corgi dog being killed by pandemic health workers implementing China's zero tolerance policy has led to public outrage.
The video went viral on Weibo, a popular Chinese social media platform.
The owner of the dog posted the video that shows two people in hazmat suits hitting the dog on the head with a rod. The dog runs into another room out of frame, and then one of the workers comes back from the room with an object in a yellow plastic bag.
The video has been seen millions of times, with users expressing their anguish and outrage via hashtag.
"The point is that the dog was not even confirmed with the coronavirus. They just directly beat it to death — how can they be this cruel?" said one user, according to NBC News.
There is no evidence that domesticated animals can spread the coronavirus, nor was there any indication that the dog had been tested for coronavirus.
Government officials in the Xizhou district said that the two workers were sent to treat the residential building in the city of Shangrao where the incident occurred.
They added that the anti-epidemic measures had been conducted without "adequate communication" with the owner of the dog, but claimed that the corgi had been "disposed of harmlessly." They also said that the health workers had been disciplined and made to apologize to the dog owner.
That response from the government only fueled more criticism.
"This is the most ridiculous, most evasive, most callous response I have ever seen," said one user on Weibo.
One editor of a government-controlled tabloid defended the actions of the government.
"We cannot deny the overall hard work of the grassroots pandemic prevention workers because of a specific case," wrote Global Times editor-in-chief Hu Xijin.
"We must not forget the most basic fact is that China's fight against the epidemic has saved countless lives. This is the most important fact that the majority of people care about," he added.
Weibo is the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. Around 566 million people are on the platform.
Here's more about China's zero tolerance policies:
China steps up zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19 as Delta fears grow ahead of Beijing Olympicswww.youtube.com