social media outrage
Image of the emaciated old woman.SINA WEIBO / MIAOPAI

Chinese social media users expressed their outrage after pictures of a 90-year-old emaciated Chinese woman kept in a pigpen for years were released on Thursday.

Papers in the southern Guangxi region reported that the elderly woman was kept in an inhumane condition in a pigsty by her son and daughter-in-law "for years." Reports state that the woman, Yang, was kept in a 10-sq-metre padlocked cell and slept on a wooden bench, according to the Southern Morning Post reports.

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Although there have been suggestions that the woman may have wanted to stay in the cell of her own volition, but this has sparked a furious debate on social media about why would she want that and who was to be held accountable for her condition. There have been rising number of cases in China of elderly people been neglected or treated badly by their own children.

Yang's living circumstances was brought to light by a local woman named Pretty Nan Gualan on social media, who posted a video of the old lady sitting by a cage door. While posting the video, she posted a question to her perpetrators asking "How could you make her live in here? And not give her food?"

The video has gone viral on social media and has received more than 1.8 million hits since it was uploaded on 6 January, 2017. BBC reports state that many of the viewers have taken to popular microblog in China Sina Weibo to express outrage at the incident.

Thousands of people are posting remarks expressing shock with the hashtag #92YearOldKeptInPigsty. The users have even referred to the woman's son and daughter-in-law as "beasts" and "scum".

The pictures being circulated on social media shows the woman's malnourished body with bones sticking out. According to reports, a local hospital is now treating the women and the residents of the region have decided to help her by contributing clothes and bedding for her.