IT WAS the worst possible start to the new year for this little girl.
On 1 Jan, her stepmother allegedly cut off her left ear and four of her fingers, reported Guangzhou Daily.
The newspaper reported that the suspect allegedly dragged the 6-year-old girl into the kitchen of their home in Guangdong, China.
There, she reportedly cut off her stepdaughter's left ear with a kitchen knife. The girl screamed and struggled as her blood spilled all over the kitchen floor.
Tried to run
She tried to run out of the kitchen, but her attacker caught her and allegedly put her right hand on a chopping board before cutting off four fingers.
Reports in the Chinese media said that a wound was also found near her private parts. Mr Liang Zutian, the security director of Hefeng Village in Foshan City, told reporters that he had never seen such a cruel mother.
The girl was taken to a nearby hospital by her father. He left her there with 6,000 yuan ($1,200) for her treatment. The Chinese press has been unable to contact him.
The hospital alerted the police, who arrested the stepmother.
Website sina.com reported that when she saw the police, she burst into tears. She kept crying and said she wished she were dead.
It is not known what had sparked off the attack.
Villagers told reporters that the couple got married 12 years ago but were childless at first.
The victim is from her father's previous relationship. The couple later had two children together, a girl and a boy, both born in the last two years.
She did not live in the same house as the couple and was only visiting them that day. Police are still investigating and are trying to locate the girl's nanny, who disappeared after the incident.
When reporters visited the home, the door was locked. Neighbours said the family was not badly off financially.
They added that the father was a nice man, but his wife was somewhat snobbish. She also behaved oddly, which caused her neighbours to not have too much contact with her.
Reporters visited the victim at the hospital, and watched as a nurse helped to change her bandages. The little girl started crying, and the nurse hugged her and wiped away her tears.
A member of the nursing staff said that she had not spoken much ever since she was admitted.
She refused to talk about her injuries and said: "I can't tell even if you kill me."
This article was first published in The New Paper.