A video purportedly captured by a home security camera and apparently showing a nanny abusing a 10-month-old boy has gone viral in China, triggering a police investigation and an online conversation among working mothers.
In the video, which is understood to have been recorded in Changsha, in the central province of Hunan, a woman in a black shirt can be seen hurling the child on to a sofa and holding him upside down before dropping him head first on to the floor.
According to the person who this week posted the video to Weibo, China's version of Twitter, it was originally shared by a relative of the child to a closed chat group.
"The child's parents wanted to report it to the police, but were not sure if this qualified for a police complaint. The nanny even wanted to settle it privately, so I posted the video for them," she wrote.
The internet user who shared the video on Weibo said the infant's parents had hired a friend of the child's grandmother to take care of him in the morning while they were at work.
The nanny did not know there was a security camera in the flat.
Local police said on Thursday they were still investigating whether the video was authentic.
Many women responded to the video on social media by talking about their own struggles in raising children.
"It's best to take care of your child yourself. Old people sometimes lack patience, just like my mum. She won't beat my child but will often ignore him. So I quit my job to look after him until he starts going to kindergarten," one woman wrote in an online forum.
"I can either find a job after my child grows up or start a business at home, but my parents would not allow me to work and my husband does not want to give up his high-paying job," another wrote.
There has been a profusion of such cases in China where the number of housekeepers - including nannies and part-time cleaners - exceeded 25 million people in 2016, a rise of 9.3 per cent on the previous year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
But the supply of nannies has failed to keep up with demand, fuelled by young families moving away from their home provinces to cities in search of work, along with changing attitudes as more women prioritise a career.
In Beijing, for example, the number of available nannies did not even meet half the demand in the capital last year, according to NetEase News.
Nearly 80 per cent of women born after 1995 want to be financially independent, according to a March 2018 survey by LinkedIn and L'Oreal in China.
In September last year a nanny in Datong, in the northern province of Shanxi, was captured by a hidden camera repeatedly hitting and slapping an eight-month-old baby while the parents were away.
This article was first published on South China Morning Post.