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Media mercy called for serial killer's family

(Xinhua)

08:17, August 16, 2012

BEIJING, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- An elderly lady hid her face behind a cattail leaf fan, her hands trembling upon hearing her son's death.

While the Chinese public released a collective sigh of relief upon the death of the alleged serial killer, an online report has directed attentions on the plight of the suspect's family after media harassment.

Zhou Kehua, suspected of robbing and fatally shooting nine people during robberies in China, was gunned down by police in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing, on Tuesday morning.

A manhunt began last Friday after local police published Zhou's identity, and reporters swarmed into the Ertang Village in Chongqing for the story about the "most cold-blooded bank killer in decades."

But controversy has not been far away after an online post said a journalist from a Shaanxi-based newspaper cornered Zhou's mother and asked questions such as whether Zhou sent his money home.

A photograph attached to the report showed the mother hide her face behind a cattail leaf fan. The reporter informed her of Zhou's death and observed "she was dumbfounded for 20 seconds and her hand holding the fan trembled," the report said.

After being posted on Sina Weibo, a popular microblogging site, the report has met a tidal wave of negative responses, with many bloggers criticizing the "relentless and inhumane" journalism.

"A heinous criminal is still a loved son of his mother. Please stop torturing the old woman," Xing Hainiao, a Beijing publisher, said in a post.

Some netizens also suspected reporters were prepared to hit the mother with the news in order to capture her instant reactions.

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