Chinese Province Debates Law After Hit-and-Run Outcry

After domestic and international outcry from the tragic hit-and-run of a toddler in Guangdong province, many in China are hoping that the scrutiny and publicity from Yue Yue’s accident will result in new laws being passed to prevent such a tragedy from occurring again. From BBC News:

Provincial groups from the ruling Communist Party, government departments and associations are talking about a new law.

This could make it illegal for people to ignore those in need of help.

“Many laws, including forbidding drunken driving, in China have been passed after high-profile individual cases,” said lawyer Zhu Yongping, according to a report in the English-language China Daily.

Other media outlets report that the introduction of a law will be debated at a meeting of lawyers next month.

Yet not everyone in China is in favor of such “compulsory aid” laws, believing they may do more harm than good. From China Daily:

However, Wang Zhongxing, a professor in the university’s law school, said refusing to help people should not be a crime.

“We should be very cautious to legislate because legislation is a double-edged sword,” he said. “It can help fight crime, but it may also wrongfully accuse the innocent.”

Wang said the issue was about morals rather than the law. “It is not fair to punish all people who do not lend a helping hand,” he added.

Huang Na, an associate professor with the law school at the Chinese People’s Public Security University, also opposed the idea of legislation.

“The legislation should be targeted for the specially designated groups, including police and doctors, instead of the vast numbers of ordinary residents,” she said.

Otherwise, too many people will become suspects and defendants, Huang said.

“Those who are not qualified to rescue the wounded may make the victims’ conditions even worse,” she said.

“It may also limit the rights and civil obligations of citizens when morality and ethics are legislated.”

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