Footage of a mother kicking her three-year-old daughter has gone viral on Chinese social media, sparking outcry online.
The video was shot on Monday in Hangzhou. The daughter has been revealed to be Niuniu, a well-known child model, who was kicked because she was allegedly "too tired to perform".
The video has been viewed tens of millions of times, with many leaving comments criticizing Niuniu’s mother for "abusing" her daughter and using her "as a tool to make money".
The mother on Monday afternoon issued an apology on Sina Weibo and defended herself in several media interviews.
Her post on Sina Weibo said that Niuniu is her beloved daughter and that she had absolutely no intention of hurting or abusing her.
She also told Beijing News: "My husband has a job; our family does not rely on Niuniu to make a living."
"It was getting dark at that time and Niuniu was about to run out to the street, so my actions were out of worry for her," she said.
Most netizens however were not convinced.
According to the woman, Niu Niu just turned 3 years old and has been modeling for over half a year.
One more clip later circulated online and exacerbated the situation. One shot in March shows Niuniu's mum beating her with a hanger and shouting. This video was allegedly filmed at around 10 pm, when Niuniu had already worked for most of the day.
Many netizens have said that the viral videos show the harmful conditions that child models experience, and have asked for more care for the girl's psychical and mental health.
On Thursday, over 100 kidswear shops on Taobao issued a joint statement calling for regulation and oversight of the country’s child modeling industry. Businesses should work together to standardize the procedures for photo shoots involving children, forbid all forms of violence against children, and refuse to use photos or videos if the kids would be at risk of being harmed during shooting, the merchants said.