The case of the fatal tiger attack at a Beijing wildlife park is set to be heard next Tuesday. It has once again triggered an online uproar, as the woman who was mauled by a tiger in the incident is claiming over 1.5 million yuan (around 240,000 US dollars) in compensation.
The mauling accident, which took place at Beijing Badaling Wildlife World last July, left one injured and another dead. The woman, surnamed Zhao, exited the car - even though the park instructs against this - and was severely injured. Zhao's mother was mauled to death after she got out of the car to stop her daughter from being dragged away by the tiger.
After the surveillance video capturing the incident was released online, the response changed from sympathy and compassion to that of criticism. Many people sided with the zoo and blamed Zhao and her family for violating the park rules.
After an investigation, the authorities ruled that the tourists should be held accountable as they failed to abide by rules and ignored warnings from the park. However, Zhao took a legal action to sue the park and claimed for compensation.
Ahead of the case heard in court, Zhao told Chinanews that she admitted her mistake of violating the rules but insisted that the zoo should also hold responsibility. Zhao said she had returned to the zoo to find evidence proving that the zoo had loopholes in safety management.
Her remarks again sparked a backlash after the interview video circulated online on Friday. On Weibo, a Twitter-like social network in China, more than 3,000 users commented on Zhao's interview. Most of them said that Zhao, as a rule-breaker, should take the responsibility for her own actions - some even went as far as saying her claim for compensation is "extortion".
"Compared to this rule-breaker, I feel sorry for the zoo and the tiger. How innocent they are," one user commented.
However, these critical voices, which have lasted for more than a year, haven't made the public any more aware of the hazards that come with violating safety rules. Early in February, again in the Beijing Badaling Wildlife World, a car was reportedly surrounded by bears after a visitor opened their car window, which is forbidden by the park.