HONG KONG (NYTIMES) - Her face was darkened by bruises, her limbs battered. The photos that Haruka Nakaura, a Japanese model, shared on Instagram left little doubt about what had happened to her.
Yet on Chinese social media this week, there was considerable support for Jiang Jinfu, a 27-year-old Chinese model-actor who subsequently admitted to having beaten Nakaura. The two had been dating.
"No matter what the reason is, I should not have raised my hand," he wrote, hours after she posted the photos.
Many Chinese netizens condemned Jiang. But others said he had been brave to admit what he had done. And still others said Nakaura might have had it coming.
"Some people say there's no excuse for beating someone like that, but if what this woman did was true, doesn't she deserve it?" said one person on Weibo, referring to one of many rumours about the incident.
But prominent activist Lu Pin said: "People are always trying to find many reasons to justify the violence and one reason they've found is 'This woman is not one of us,'" He was referring to comments about Nakaura's Japanese heritage.
Little is known about the circumstances of the beating, including where it happened or whether the authorities are investigating it.
Nakaura has since deleted her Instagram account.
Before doing so, she addressed Jiang and dismissed his apology.
"If you really wanted to apologise, you would apologise to me directly and not through Weibo," she said, adding that he had caused her to miscarry.