Chinese anger at murder of carjacked baby

Mourners light candles for the baby in Jilin on 5 March 2013
Image caption Many Chinese people have reacted with shock and anger to the baby's death

The case of a baby killed after the car in which he was sleeping was stolen has sparked outrage in China.

On Monday a man stole a car parked outside a shop in Changchun, in Jilin province, and headed to the motorway.

Jilin police say when the thief, Zhou Xijun, realised that there was a baby on the back seat he strangled the two-month-old and buried him in the snow.

He gave himself up on Tuesday after a manhunt involving more than 3,500 policemen and media appeals.

The death of the baby was met with shock, disbelief and outrage on Chinese media and social media, threatening to upstage the National People's Congress coverage.

The topic has generated nearly 3 million hits on Tencent Weibo, and more than 400,000 on Sina Weibo, Chinese equivalents of Twitter.

The official Sina Weibo account of People's Daily's newspaper wrote: "Baby Haobo, sleep well - you are not big enough to experience the first spring yet...... but the person who hurt you will be punished and we will try to the make the world you hardly knew a better place."

Others mourned what they saw as the death of a caring and safe society. "What has this world come to"? one netizen laments on Sina. "How can humanity sink so low?"

Noted author Liu Liu felt that such disregard for human life could only be cured by the whole of society raising its moral level.

There have been calls for the death penalty, with some also blaming the parents for failing to look after the child.

The baby's father, the shop owner, had apparently left the car door open and ignition on so he could light a fire indoors before bringing in the baby.

According to reports, the mother of the dead baby had been taken to hospital after collapsing.

Meanwhile, in what has been criticised as a crass PR move, a Buick car dealership in neighbouring Liaoning province used their Sina Weibo account to say their cars carry a GPS system "allowing the lockdown of a stolen vehicle at any time and place. Why not buy a completely safe Buick?"

The advert used a picture of the dead baby, along with two of the dealership's new cars.

This attracted strong condemnation and a calls for a boycott of the car-maker. One commentator said it was "milking the tragic death of the baby". "Totally sick!" said another.

The dealership has since apologised, saying the advert had been totally inappropriate and that it deeply regretted the "hurt it had caused to the family of the victims and society".