A video taken by an onlooker showing a policeman slamming a woman and baby to the ground has spread online since Friday.
The video shows a woman in Shanghai arguing with a cop over a parking fine, which is said to be a common occurrence in China.
The woman advances on the policeman, tussling with him while clutching her child to her chest. The cop remonstrates her and after a momentary lull, the woman advances again, pushing and prodding him.
Then 22 seconds in the video, as another cop opens the door to a police vehicle, the first policeman suddenly slams the woman to the ground, sending the child flying to the pavement.
The two officers wrestle the woman on the ground, disregarding the child who is helped by onlookers.
The video has gripped and divided many in China, renewing debate about how far the police should be allowed to push back against irate citizens.
The confrontation highlights two concerns close to the heart of many Chinese people – the crude, at times even brutal behaviour of law enforcers and the treatment of children in a society where many parents have only one child. That the fracas happened in rich and sophisticated Shanghai is all the more disconcerting.
Comments on social media were mainly criticisms levelled at the policemen for putting the child at risk of serious injury but some said that the woman bore some responsibility for putting her child between the cop and herself.
By Friday evening, Shanghai’s Bureau of Public Security announced that the police officer who pushed the woman had been suspended.