China: Are there no Samaritans?
BEGINNING OF THE END: Five-year-old Yan Zhe crosses the road in front of the minibus that would moments later crush him.
China - A video of a child being crushed by a minibus then ignored by
passers-by has ignited a new bout of soul-searching in China.
Internet users are
asking: "Are ethics slipping amid rapid change?"
The video, which
police told state news agency Xinhua was authentic, shows five-year-old Yan Zhe
crossing a street alone in front of the parked bus which knocks him over as it
RELUCTANT TO HELP
walk on while others stand around. When one woman waves for help as she rushes
over to the driver of an approaching car, he reverses away.
It was 10 minutes
before another car driver took Yan Zhe to hospital but the boy died on the way,
The event recalled
a similar case in 2011 when a toddler, fatally struck by two vehicles, lay on
the street while at least 18 people walked past.
A provincial news
anchor said after the more recent incident: "This soundless image again
stirs up a huge wave deep in our hearts, questions our innermost being... is
there a conscience there?"
Xinhua said the
minibus driver agreed to pay Yan's parents the equivalent of nearly R1-million
compensation if they did not press charges.
MORAL OUTCRY - FROM A
Users of China's
Twitter-like service Sina Weibo said the boy's death symbolised deteriorating
ethics in the country. "This society is completely deformed, there are no
words to describe the apathy among people, how long can this kind of China go
on?" asked one.
moral fibre of the Chinese people is trash."
focused on the individuals involved. "I feel the guardian bears major
responsibility. How can you let a small child play on the street by himself?
The driver also kind of lacks humanity."
An unnamed local
government official told Xinhua that the death differed from that of 2011 because
passers-by "actively helped" and the driver did not leave the scene.
In that incident
two-year-old "Yue Yue" was finally picked up by a rubbish collector
who moved her to the kerb.
At the time
provincial leader Wang Yang was quoted in Xinhua as saying: "We should
look into the ugliness in ourselves with a dagger of conscience and bite the
SAYS: Within most legal
systems - South Africa included - there is
no compulsory duty of performance for bona fide civilians in emergency
situations, as there is with emergency service workers (doctors, nurses, EMT’s, police, lifeguards and the like) even if they’re off duty.
Therefore, China does not have a set legal
prohibition against helping injured people.
The issue that seems to make Chinese
citizens reluctant to do so is the possibility of the person they help blaming them
for the event which caused their injuries and subsequently being ordered by a Chinese
court of law to pay compensation to the person who has falsified their claim(China
has a history of these sort of occurrences).