Chinese public torn over tiger attack

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Chinese netizens have been engaged in hot debate over whether a zoo should be held accountable after a man who was mauled to death by a tiger was found to have climbed over the enclosure wall to avoid paying for an entrance ticket.

According to a poll initiated by the Chengdu Business Daily on its Sina Weibo account Monday, 92.2 percent of the more than 40,000 people surveyed as of press time Tuesday said the zoo should be acquitted of responsibility, while only 4.1 percent said the zoo should be held accountable for the man’s death.

A male family member of the victim insisted on Monday that the Ningbo Youngor Zoo in East China’s Zhejiang Province should be held responsible for the tragedy, the Beijing-based newspaper Legal Mirror reported.

“Even if he did climb over a wall to avoid paying for a ticket, it is because the zoo has poor management … given there is a loophole, people naturally want to exploit it,” said the relative, whose name was not given.

The Ningbo Youngor Zoo said late on Sunday that the man surnamed Zhang, who hailed from Central China’s Hubei Province, went to the zoo with his wife and two children along with two friends on Sunday afternoon. Zhang and his friend surnamed Li ignored warning signs and attempted to climb over the 3-meter-high wall topped with barbed wire that surrounds the tiger enclosure. Zhang was attacked by a tiger after scaling the enclosure fence, while Li was left trapped on the outside.

The tiger was subsequently shot and killed while the zoo has closed its doors to the public.

The statement of the victim’s relative has drawn severe criticism online, with many netizens saying the statement’s logic was flawed.

“If someone drowns, should we blame the river for not having a lid?” read one comment.

Those who defend the victim’s family say although Zhang broke the rules by failing to purchase a ticket, death is not a proper punishment for such an offense.

The victim was reported to be a migrant worker who earned a meager monthly salary. According to media reports, Zhang purchased tickets for his wife and two children, costing 150 yuan ($22.40) per person, but chose not to purchase one for himself in an attempt to save money. The role the victim’s financial situation played in the tragedy has sparked discussions of China’s wealth gap and the high cost of tickets to many scenic spots in China.

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