This is the moment circus performers kick and beat a terrified bear cub with a stick in China.
The incident took place in the city of Jinan, in the Chinese province of Shandong.
Performers were in the middle of a show involving a young bear – which appears to be a cub – when the animal suddenly started jumping and attempting to grab their legs.
They then proceeded to repeatedly kick it and hit it on the head with a stick.
One of the shocked viewers filmed the bizarre plot twist and shared the video on Douyin – the Chinese version of TikTok.
Netizens have condemned the cruel act on the bear handlers’ part for beating the poor cub – and for hosting brutish animal shows in the first place.
The performers can be seen pulling on its lead and smacking it with a stick during the act.
One of the performers tried to step aside and let the animal handler deal with the situation but the bear followed him and held onto his leg, so they started kicking it.
The music was drowned out by the sound of screaming people.
The ‘show’ came to an abrupt end when the performers managed to pull the bear away and threw it inside a cage.
Afterwards, the staff reportedly claimed that the bear was simply trying to hug the man, and they suspect it might have become short-tempered due to the cooling weather.
They said that the performers were not injured but added they had decided to stop doing the bear show so that visitors and viewers would not worry.
It is unclear if they are being investigated for animal cruelty.