• Rat gets punishment for stealing food.

Rat gets punishment for stealing food. (Photo : Weibo)

Photos of a rat tied by all four paws to a trolley and "shamed" for stealing rice from a convenience store is circulating in social media. It was posted on the Chinese micro-blogging platform Weibo.

In one photo the rodent was wearing a sign explaining its misdeed, while in the other photo the sign it wore says: "I dare not do it again!"

Like Us on Facebook

The two pictures were taken in Heyuan City in Guangdong Province and posted on Jan. 23 by a Weibo user.

The Weibo user with the screen name "jiu lian shan she zhang" explained that a friend who tied up the rat found the rodent in the warehouse of a convenience store.

He also expressed sympathy for the manner it was being treated ahead of Chinese New Year.

He added that he did not expect the photos to draw so much attention, and noted that there were numerous comments under the pictures with varying opinions--some expressed pity or hatred for the rat while some found it to be funny.

The owner of the store where the rat was caught, a man named Lai Tiancai, noted that the "small incident" was being blown up and all the fuss was about "just a rat."

There was no update indicating whether or not the rat survived the "punishment."

The Shenzhen Traffic Police also responded to the post with three smiling face emojis on its official account on Weibo.

The post reminded many about a Jan. 2016 online video from China showing a man and woman tying up a mouse and "interrogating it" for stealing bananas.

Still, others said that the treatment of the rat reminded them of how Mao Tse Tung treated the people of China during the struggle sessions of the Cultural Revolution, when those identified as enemies of the state were humiliated or executed in public.