A video surfaced on Chinese social media sites yesterday showing a woman leaping from a bridge and falling onto a busy highway, where surrounding cars slowed and then drove around her as they passed. Today, Shanghaiist posted the video and translated comments from the quickly-filling pages of QQ online forums:
“If you want to jump, find a higher place to jump from. Doing it this way you don’t die, you just slow down the traffic.”
“Probably they were all rushing to work, and besides, what good is getting out of the car going to do? Unless you’re a doctor or know how to do first aid.”
“If you want to die, you can’t get other people involved in it.”
To the relief of many, other posts displayed some semblance of a conscience:
“Why is everybody rushing by and nobody gets out of their car to make sure she’s OK?”
“What are you doing just reporting it to the police and not getting out to help?”
“You guys, take a look at this video bearing in mind the Guangdong incident with little Yueyue. I think that the sad thing is not the person who jumped but society itself—so many people who didn’t even stop for a moment to get out of their cars to help.”
While the cameraman called an emergency number before driving off, the incident serves as another recent example of Chinese indifference when witnessing a fellow citizen in need. After the nation erupted last month over the horrific hit-and-run death of 2-year-old Yue Yue in Foshan, AFP reported yesterday that officials in Shenzhen have begun to draft rules to protect well-intentioned rescuers from legal action. A Global Times Op-Ed on Monday discussed the need to create a Good Samaritan law and what form that law would take, and today Holly McFarland speculates in Christian Science Monitor about which precedent would work best in China:
A recent China Daily poll reveals that approximately 87 percent of Chinese citizens are unlikely to aid an elderly person who has fallen in the street because they want to avoid being blamed for the accident. “The public’s lack of a sense of trust has been made obvious by recent media stories that have looked at the hesitation people feel before they come to someone else’s aid,” Xie Jing, a communications professor at Fudan University, told the newspaper.
In spite of the outrage bubbling in China over society’s apparent moral decline, the majority of the population is reluctant to follow in France’s footsteps. According to one online poll, 77.7 percent of Chinese respondents disagree with the idea of establishing a “duty to rescue” law. Most claim they don’t want moral acts to be legally enforced. With restrictions on individual freedom already so tightly monitored, the Chinese appear weary to have one more government mandate imposed.
China also announced today that a non-governmental organization will award 3,000 yuan to the Uruguayan woman, widely and incorrectly reported to be an American tourist, who rescued a person from an apparent suicide attempt in Hangzhou’s West Lake last month.