It was a viral hit in China back in 2010, but with 12 million views and counting, ‘Cute Little Chinese Girl Scared To Death On TV Show’ is a video that shows no sign of going away. The video of a little girl’s frightened reaction to a fake criminal, which recently resurfaced on the Japanese internet after being reposted to Liveleak, wasn’t the first funny crying kid video to stack up hits online, and it won’t be the last. From Charlie Bit My Finger Again, to the Reasons My Son Is Crying tumblr, to the recent video of a toddler left inconsolable after she realises a newborn can’t come to her birthday, it seems we just can’t get enough of weeping toddlers.

So why are videos of kids crying so popular?

It’s worth pointing out that plenty of YouTubers called fake on the Chinese police kids clip, saying the girl is an actor and is parroting lines. But even if she is acting, where does our collective appetite for these kinds of clips comes from?

The first thing ‘Cute Little Chinese Girl Scared To Death On TV Show’, a clip from a Chinese TV show, has going for it is that the little girl getting pranked is adorably cute. And the first rule of the internet (no, not that one) is that cute conquers all. So when, in the video, two little Chinese kids are left in charge of a police station, and the four-year-old girl reacts to a fake criminal by alternately bawling and asking him endearing, innocent questions like “Are you a good person?”, it hits the same cuteness nerve as rabbits playing with balloons and cats pulling faces.

But it’s not just sweetness and light that makes a video a hit. Judging by the comments, plenty of viewers felt that the show was more than a bit mean; as one YouTube commenter put it, “the adults’ laughter is bought at the expense of the little girl’s tears!” Playing a prank on a little kid, but not actually doing her any harm except making her blub, provokes just the right amount of outrage to ensure the video will be commented-on and shared.

▼ We’d probably cry too if this guy started threatening us.

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The other thing these “kids say the funniest things“-style videos have going for them is that adults can identify with them. Like “children’s book for adults” Go the Fuck to Sleep, they capture the frustration, helplessness and general hilarity of being a parent; in this case, watching a small child cry and not really being able to do anything about it. When your kid cries and you’re home alone, there’s no one to share it with; on the internet watching someone else‘s child sob, we’re all in this together.

▼ Well, except for the kid.

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Watch the video in full below (make sure to hit the button for English subs!)

Sources: Liveleak, YouTube (1, 2), chinasmack
Screenshots: YouTube