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Student punished for alleged cat torture at university

By ZOU SHUO in Changsha | | Updated: 2024-05-28 23:15
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A student at China Jiliang University in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, has been punished after being accused of torturing and killing a dozen cats, according to local authorities.

Multiple reports from netizens to the Zhejiang government online complaint platform accused the student, surnamed Yuan, of poisoning, torturing, and killing cats on university campuses. The reports stated that Yuan poisoned the cats at night on the campuses of China Jiliang University and neighboring Zhejiang Sci-Tech University from April 10 to 27. He allegedly kept the poisoned cats in a room for five days, causing a foul odor from the dead animals.

Yuan reportedly posted about his actions on an online forum, writing, "It is me who poisoned the cats, what can you do? I drowned them. I watched the videos of them convulsing every night, and it feels great." He also sought advice online on how to make poison.

In response to the online reports, China Jiliang University announced on Sunday that it had conducted an investigation and punished the student according to law and regulations. The university did not specify the details of the punishment.

Incidents of students being punished for torturing animals have been on the rise recently. In April, a student at Jiangxi Normal University was expelled after videos and pictures surfaced of him repeatedly torturing a pet cat in his dormitory. The student was also found to have disseminated obscene videos online and been frequently absent from class.

In another case, videos posted by a student surnamed Xu, showing him torturing, killing, and cooking three cats, sparked furious criticism online. Xu was not admitted to Nanjing University for postgraduate studies despite ranking top among all candidates. The university cited his failure in the admission interview as the reason. Lanzhou University also declined to admit Xu after a large number of netizens urged the university to reject his application, stating that academic grades are not the only criterion for admission.

Wang Wenda, director of college students' psychological health education at Xinhua College of Ningxia University, said the root cause of such behavior is often an inability to handle negative emotions, with some perpetrators having been victims of abuse themselves.

"Simply expelling the students cannot solve the problem and might lead to greater danger to society," Wang said. "They might not only hurt animals but also people if they do not get proper guidance and help." He emphasized the importance of psychological counseling, noting that colleges provide free psychological services and students should seek help routinely.

Lu Xiaohua, psychology professor and deputy director of the psychological education center at Beijing Jiaotong University, added that hurting animals reflects deep psychological distress and anger. Students who engage in such behavior might have experienced bullying or trauma and lack healthy outlets for their emotions.

"Although the law does not specify punishment for their behavior, from a moral perspective, they need to face consequences for what they have done," Lu said. She also highlighted the need for psychological support for students suffering from various psychological issues who have attacked other students and teachers.

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