Video of the incident was released on Chinese social media, and, according to welfare group Animals Asia, the condemnation from the Chinese public was swift.
"I do not watch animal performance because I know the cruelty behind the 'happy' show," one person wrote on social networking site Weibo, according to a translation provided by Animals Asia.
"Say no to animal performance," another wrote.
In a statement, Animals Asia said that "it goes without saying that ... [we are] extremely concerned about what is seen in this footage."
Unfortunately, the clip is anything but surprising. Previous investigations have shown that circus bears in Asia, much like in the U.S., are subjected to lives of heartbreaking cruelty. Torn away from their mothers as infants, they're beaten, kicked and choked to be made to perform.