Photos of a rat being tied up to what appears to be a hand truck after it was caught eating rice at a convenience store went viral on the Chinese social network Weibo.
The rat was caught at a corner store in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, with a note attached to its body explaining it was stealing some rice.
According to MailOnline, two photos were posted Sunday by Weibo user jiu lian shan she zhang, who said: “A friend of mine found a small rat in the warehouse of a convenient store. After [it] was arrested, it was shamed by a poster. Poor rat! How could it spend the Lunar New Year?”
In the first picture, the post-it note, which was written in the rat’s voice, read: “Huh, is this the best you could do? Even if you beat me to death, I would not admit that the rice at your home had been stolen by me.”
In the second photo, after what seemed to be torture, the rat had a different note attached to its body, which read: “I dare not do it again!”
Jiu lian shang she zhang confirmed that the notes had been written by a member of the staff.
The user didn’t expect the photos to go viral on social media, with several people leaving comments under them.
“Some people pitied the rat, some people hated the rat, and some people found it to be funny,” he said. “I pity the rat. It’s just a small animal. It would almost certainly die being treated like this.”
Others have compared the rat’s treatment to the people of China during Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution, when those considered to be enemies of the state would be publicly humiliated or executed, according to Metro.
The owner of the store, Lai Tiancai, said “it was just a rat” and this was a “small incident,” adding that the whole thing was blown out of proportion.
But the Weibo user wanted to bring attention to the incident by including the Shenzhen Traffic Police in his post.
In response to the photos, the Shenzhen Traffic Police posted three smiley face emojis on its official Weibo account.
In January 2016, a video of a man and woman from China showed them tying up a mouse and “interrogating it” for supposedly stealing bananas.