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2011-11-03 07:23

STREET HORROR: Little Yue Yue walks out into the street (left) and seconds later lies crushed - and ignored - on the street.

BEIJING, China - A city in southern China is considering a law to prevent people who help strangers being sued.

This after a toddler, run over by two trucks, was left lying in the road because of a Chinese decree that outlaws getting involved. The girl later died in hospital after 18 people walked past her.

RENEWED CALLS

Officials in Shenzhen are drafting rules to protect well-intentioned rescuers from legal action if their efforts fail "as long as there was no negligence or deliberate sabotage", the China Daily said.

There have been renewed calls for such laws in China since the death (in October 2011) of a two-year-old girl who was twice run over in the southern city of Foshan which, like Shenzhen, is located in the prosperous province of Guangdong.

At least 18 people walked past the girl, nicknamed Yue Yue, as she lay unconscious in the street, in a case that shocked the nation and sparked much soul-searching across the world about the state of China's morals.

Millions of Chinese went online to watch the grainy footage of the incident, which triggered speculation that the country's rapid development and urbanisation had made people more selfish.

NEW LAW FOR CHINA

Reports said the passers-by were likely concerned they would be held responsible if they stopped to help, that because of a high-profile 2006 case in which a driver who stopped to assist an elderly woman was later accused of knocking her down and was sued.

Western countries, including the US, Canada and Australia, already have laws to protect rescuers from legal action; in France people can be prosecuted if they fail to come to the aid of someone in danger.

But Zhou Chengxin, an official with the Legislative Affairs Office of Shenzhen, told AFP it would be the first such law in China.

It was not clear when the draft law would be submitted to Shenzhen lawmakers.

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