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A female reporter has been placed on temporary leave after receiving harsh criticism for using an umbrella during interviews in southeast China's Xiamen, a port city hit hard by typhoon Meranti last week.

The Xiamen TV reporter was covering disaster relief. Multiple photos online showed the reporter shielding herself from the sun with an umbrella as she interviewed volunteers and post-disaster relief workers. The stark contrast between a young woman concerned about sunrays and the beaten faces of distressed workers trying to rebuild a city triggered widespread online criticism.

Xiamen TV later announced on Sina Weibo that they had temporarily suspended the reporter. The statement said the reporter "violated journalism standards and damaged the image of journalists, producing a bad effect on society."

However, many feel the punishment was too harsh. One Weibo user writes, "Your station really has no humanity. A reporter is still a person. The sun is so strong and you still don't permit anyone to use an umbrella or wear sunglasses?" A current poll on people.cn shows 66 percent of respondents feel the issue was blown out of proportion and the punishment too severe.