Two Chinese actresses named Zhang Xinyu and Zhao Lusi, plus a talk show host named Jin Xing, were doxxed this week – meaning private information such as their national ID and phone numbers was exposed – because they spoke out against animal abuse.
China is dealing with a disturbing wave of violently abusive behavior toward animals, especially cats.
“I oppose cruel animal abuse, oppose spreading videos of animal abuse, as children would mimic what is happening in the videos. We call for laws against animal abuse.
“This is not only aimed to protect the poor cats and dogs, but to protect the psychological health of juveniles!” Zhang said in a May 24 post on Weibo, China’s heavily-censored equivalent of Twitter.
Zhao and Xing also spoke out against animal abuse, drawing the ire of an “influencer” who calls himself Jie Ke La Tiao. The Straits Times reported on Friday that he was busted for cruelty to animals in April, and claims to have changed his ways:
Jie Ke La Tiao, whose real name is reportedly Xu Zhihui, was detained in April by local police for disrupting social order after netizens reported him for abusing cats and spreading the videos on Chinese instant messaging app QQ.
Xu asked for forgiveness on Weibo on April 27 and vowed to love animals the same way he loves his life.
He said: “I have repented; please give me a chance.”
China’s state-run Global Times explained exactly what Xu and his online group did: they “video themselves abusing cats – killing them, burning them, opening their bellies when they are alive and pouring in sulfuric acid,” and then sell the videos.
The video that got Xu arrested featured him putting a cat in a blender. His fan club threatened to put more cats in blenders in a livestream event if he was not released.
Xu’s repentance was evidently insincere, as the Global Times reported he was back in the cat abuse business by May. As Zhang pointed out in her Weibo post, even the most depraved cruelty to animals is not technically illegal in China, although perpetrators can be prosecuted for secondary offenses such as “disrupting social order” or violating strict online content laws.
Members of a chat group on Telegram called “Jie Ke La Tiao Fans” evidently managed to obtain private data for Zhang and Zhao and exposed it online, expressing anger at Zhang for presuming to lecture them about animal cruelty. The Straits Times reported that Jin Xing was doxxed as well.
“The issue became a trending topic in China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo platform on Thursday with related topics being viewed for nearly 300 million times as of that day,” the Global Times wrote.
In addition to Xu and his cat-torture group, the Global Times mentioned public outrage over last week’s reports of a man in Shandong province who “ruthlessly slaughtered his wife’s beloved corgi,” and then threatened her by saying “you will be next if you do not listen to me.” The man was arrested and fined a mere 300 yuan, which works out to around $42.
The Global Times noted the Chinese Communist Party’s rubber-stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC), has been talking about passing more comprehensive laws against animal cruelty for decades but never gets around to doing it.
Another effort is now underway, as a group of Beijing lawyers petitioned the NPC in May to criminalize animal cruelty.
“If the abuse and killing behaviors are regulated by legislation and the legal cost of the torturers is increased, it can effectively reduce the occurrence of torture and killing and correct the social trend,” one of the lawyers argued.
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