Status: Real (unfortunately)
A series of pictures showing a woman crushing a kitten to death with her stiletto heels is causing an uproar over in China. The pictures first appeared on the internet and have recently been published by some Chinese newspapers. The woman in the photos has been dubbed the Kitten Killer of Hangzhou, because the background scene has been identified as Hangzhou. I've been able to locate four of the pictures in the series, but I think there are a few more (far more graphic) ones. Here are the ones I found (I don't have larger versions):
The big question is: Who is this woman? One theory is that the images come from a Japanese shoe advertisement. Another theory identifies the kitten killer as a "37-year-old woman from Hubei province with the internet identity 'Gainmas.'" The London Telegraph elaborates
She had registered a website in Hangzhou and - the ultimate evidence - had bought a pair of stilettoes on eBay last year. She was also registered with QQ, a popular Chinese message service, where she wrote of herself: "I furiously crush everything to do with you and me." Before her QQ address went dead, its owner had several conversations. In one, she is coy, saying "So what?" when asked if the pictures are of her, and then, when asked again, replying: "In theory." When confronted by a reporter, she became defensive, saying: "Suddenly hundreds of people are on my QQ and cursing me. What's the problem if I crush cats? It's a type of experience. You wouldn't understand."
The Telegraph goes on to note:
No one seems to have suggested the serious possibility that the photographs could be a hoax - created by picture-altering computer software. But in the face of tight control of self-expression, young Chinese are seeking wildly different forms of sensation or satire on the state of society.
Without having seen all the pictures (and better quality ones), it's hard to judge whether or not they're real. But it certainly seems like this has already become the Chinese version of Bonsai Kitten
(with the added twist that it may be real... in which case it's definitely disgusting).
A "Crush" video is circulating around (you can find links to it in the comments, if you're interested) that makes it pretty clear the woman really did step on a kitten. Also, an article in the Shanghai Daily
reports that the lady, and the guy who produced the video, have been identified. The producer, who is a camera operator at a TV station, has apologized. However, the woman, who works as a nurse at a hospital, has disappeared, leading to concerns that kitten commandoes may have abducted her (or something along those lines).