BEIJING (AFP) - Two Chinese officials allegedly paraded a 13-year-old girl through the streets in handcuffs for splashing a government vehicle, state media reported on Wednesday after images of the incident provoked outrage online.
A party secretary in Kele, in the southern province of Guizhou, and a policeman were being investigated over the matter, the Global Times said.
Rao Yao was accused of deliberately splashing "dirty water" on a government car, drenching another local official, after a row about her family's street stall, the Sichuan Daily reported.
Party secretary Yuan Zehong ordered the girl arrested and told more than 30 policemen to "beat up" her aunt after she protested at the handcuffing, claimed a post on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like social messaging service.
It included photos of the incident and alleged that Rao had been made to walk for 20 minutes in public while wearing the handcuffs.
According to the Sichuan Daily, officials accused the girl's father Rao Fugui of making up the accusations because of a long-running dispute over the market where he works.
He was quoted by the Beijing News on Wednesday as saying that his daughter was illegally detained for 12 hours, although it also cited him as saying she was only transferred between two vehicles during the April incident, rather than paraded.
Nonetheless many netizens were outraged.
"Now a 13-year-old is being cuffed and paraded? What's wrong with this country?" asked Vivian Panda on her Weibo account.
Another netizen, Liu Tong, a media businessman with more than three million followers, quoted new President Xi Jinping's oft-cited but largely undefined slogan of a "Chinese Dream".
"There are some people in this country who become others' punchbags and their biggest Chinese dream is simply to live with a bit more dignity," he said.