Honorary Unsubscribe: Yueyue

I don’t often copy Honorary Unsubscribe write-ups to the True site: there’s an archive for those. But I suspect readers are going to want to talk about this one, from True’s 23 October 2011 issue:

I couldn’t bear to watch the security camera footage: I saw enough on a clip shown on Chinese TV, and I grabbed a non-gory screencap from it (posted below).

Fair Warning

This entry is likely to make women (and men with hearts at least half as soft as mine) to tear up.

This Week’s Honorary Unsubscribe goes to: Wang Yue

It’s tough to watch the security camera footage, but the whole thing was caught on tape. Wang — a toddler — had wandered away from her parents and into a commercial area of Foshan, in Guangdong, China. A delivery van runs her over. The driver immediately stops, looks around, and — without getting out of his van — drives away …running over the girl again with his back wheels. Witnesses saw it, but no one does a thing. Then a larger truck comes by and runs her over again. Amazingly, the girl is still alive, but 18 people in view of the security camera walk by, some looking at her, and no one does a thing to help, not even calling for an ambulance. And surely there are more, out of view of the camera. Finally, Chen Xianmei, 57, a trash scavenger, sees the girl and moves in to help, carrying the tiny broken body to the girl’s parents. Wang was hospitalized in critical condition. Police were able to find both drivers and arrest them, but the girl’s parents say the drivers are not at fault: they themselves are, for not keeping better track of their child.

But when the video was shown on Chinese television (it then went viral online), shame and guilt gripped China. “We couldn’t imagine that moral values have declined so much,” said Zhu Yongping, a Guangzhou lawyer who has attended meetings on the implications of the case. “We should look into the ugliness in ourselves with a dagger of conscience and bite the soul-searching bullet,” says Wang Yang, a government official in Guangdong. In the past, citizens who have helped others in need are sometimes prosecuted, that they “wouldn’t have stopped to help if they were not guilty” of causing the accident. So Zhu and other lawyers are drafting “Good Samaritan” legislation that would not only shield passerby from legal action if they help others in obvious emergency need, but may even penalize those who don’t. Thus, the death of “Yueyue” — the girl’s nickname — may lead to a sea change in China; she died from systemic organ failure on October 21, 8 days after she was run over. She was 2.


A still from security camera video showing someone simply driving by.

The purpose of the H.U. is to “Recognize the Unknown, the Forgotten and the Obscure People who Had an Impact on Our Lives.” I know this child is one of many who have died this year, but her death has struck a nerve in China, finally leading to a change in their legal concepts relating to Good Samaritans.

I find it incredible that they would actually prosecute people for helping, but they did. So Yueyue’s death isn’t in vain: her death will help thousands of people — not just those who ignore peril and stop to help others, but also all the people that will now be helped, rather than stepped over.

A sad story, sure, but a noble legacy indeed.

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40 Comments on “Honorary Unsubscribe: Yueyue

  1. Thank you for giving the updated information about China’s laws concerning good Samaritans, and the upcoming changes. This is heart breaking.

  2. From the writeup:

    “So Zhu and other lawyers are drafting “Good Samaritan” legislation that would not only shield passerby from legal action if they help others in obvious emergency need, but may even penalize those who don’t.”

    I hope the latter part does not become law. I’m all in favour of legislation that shields honest assistance from lawsuit, but to penalize people for being nearby and not helping is extremely dangerous. What if you were in another safety-critical position and abandoning it would risk other lives? It’s not wise to make people feel they have to help.

    But yes, Good Samaritan legislation would be a Good Thing; and moreso, it needs to become fairly universal. If I’m on holiday in another country and I see someone hurt or needing help, can I afford to stop and render assistance?

  3. I suppose only time will tell if this is a knee jerk reaction or the catalyst for social change. However, I’ve read of similar actions happening here in Australia — persons being hit by a car and then left on the side of the road during peak hour. Passed by hundreds of people who simply didn’t care or didn’t see the injured person.

    I think we in the west find it far easier to point at this in China and say “How terrible”, but the reality is that the same thing happens here (and presumably throughout the world). Let us hope that this triggers a global change.

    That’s part of the reason I’m giving publicity to it: to help keep the pressure on so that they do do something about it. And yes, it happens in the west, too. -rc

  4. It should not have taken the death of a child to instill change. But, as history proves, a tragedy makes change. So sad.

    But if we do have the death of a child, it would be a much bigger tragedy for it not to create needed change! -rc

  5. I saw this video on the web. Still hard to believe. Maybe the people did not know it was a real child. Maybe they thought it was a doll or maybe a dog or something. Hard to tell, but the driver knew he hit a child. Some of the people must have seen the blood. I still can’t get over seeing it. The poor parents who had to see this. Thanks for bringing this to the attention of your readers.

  6. Chinese adults have been getting rid of their own little girls for decades. Why would they give a damn about someone else’s?

    One can always hope for — and push for — change. -rc

  7. These images will never leave my mind’s eye. G-d bless her little soul. Hopefully we can all learn something vital from this tragedy. If we help others without thinking of the consequences we may possibly face, then this will become a more compassionate world.

  8. The story is sad. The comments by “Squander Two” are outrageous. His attempt at moral superiority falls flat.

    There are two examples of reaction on this page: the “shame and guilt [which] gripped China,” and Squander’s smugness. Which one shows humanity?

    Yes there has been infanticide in China, to their shame and guilt. But obviously, not all families in China “get rid of their own little girls” or there would be no little girl for this story. Yet Squander would lump all Chinese together, guilty or not, and in the process denies them all their humanity. At least the Chinese people have enough integrity left to realize when they’ve lost their souls, as demonstrated by the story. Maybe Squander will someday realize he has “squandered” his own soul and integrity. And for what?

  9. An awful story. The death of the small child is the worst of it but a close second is the parents’ reaction: almost an effort to absolve not only the drivers and those who did nothing.
    In a society permeated by collectivism an individual is nothing. I hope this terrible instance will in some measure deter us from our headlong pursuit of the same structure in our own society.
    Some Chinese officials are making an effort to undo Mao’s “legacy” as a result of this horror. I wish them every success.

  10. It was not so long ago in this country that the Good Samaritan was not protected. Laws on rendering aid varied so widely that my license to practice did not protect me if I stopped to help at an MVA in another state. If this tragic event leads the Chinese society towards affording better protection for their children and Good Samaritans, it will remain horrific but not in vain.

    Working in a children’s hospital affords me the sad opportunity to see death at an early age all too often; from pediatric cancers and other natural causes, accidental trauma, self inflicted injuries, and -unfortunately- intentional abuse. And no one with human sensibilities can look at this still capture or watch the video without a catch in breathing and a pause in heartbeat.

    For those wondering, an “MVA” is a Motor Vehicle Accident. -rc

  11. Very relieved to know that not everyone in the Chinese government holds to the “female children are not worth much” attitude. Hopefully change will come from this, so that people will be more willing to step up when the need arises. RIP little Yueyue.

  12. I want to thank you for your Honourary (Canadian spelling) Unsubscribe. While I truly enjoy the main stories and am not sure how long ago I became a premium subscriber, it is the HU that I really keep coming back for. I’ve read about people who have touched my life (and everyone’s for that matter) that I knew about and more that I had no idea that they were behind something that touched my life in some way.

    That this tiny child has had, at least in theory at this point, such an impact is impressive. That she had to die in such a terrible manner to do this is just so sad. That her parents would state that they were responsible, which in part they may have been, is heartbreaking. That so many people could just walk by and not do anything is tremendously horrific.

    I’m a hard boiled old RN who’s been in the ‘biz’ for almost 30 yrs. I’ve always worked in Long-Term Care with the elderly (with one very strange year in active treatment psych). I have no problem helping someone move on from life as we know it, especially when they’ve had time to live that life. One thing I knew from the beginning was that I could never work paediatrics.

    I believe that this tiny soul will be welcomed into heaven in a very special way.

    Again, thank you so very much for this HU. Yes, I had and still have tears in my eyes, and that doesn’t happen very often.

  13. It would be god if this tragic story has a positive outcome, but you can’t legislate morality. As my students in China told me, people don’t like to help others who are having troubles because there is the superstition that the bad luck will rub off on them.

    A shame we can’t legislate morality into those both caused and benefitted from the excesses of Wall Street either.

  14. I wonder if maybe the reason Yueyue’s parents are so forgiving of the guilt of the drivers and the uncaring (??) passersby is because of their own feelings of terrible guilt for not watching over her. Reasonable or not, many people who lose a child, whether to disease or injury, feel an unspeakably horrible sense of loss and guilt, “What should I/could I have done better, or not done, that would have spared my child?”

    Yueyue’s death was tragic — ABSOLUTELY no argument there. But at the risk of sounding heartless, maybe it was NECESSARY. Perhaps in a country with such a large population, it could cynically be argued that the death of another mouth to feed was not such a bad thing.

    But to actually witness such a horrific event, via a viral video, and the attending utter (criminal?) lack of concern for a small, helpless child, this time, SEEING that child lying there, alone in a puddle of blood, instead of a statistic in a newspaper or hearing about it on the radio, was shock to that society’s system.

    This is an event, tragic and horrific, that may cause an entire country, an entire society, to soberly reassess their values and become better people because of it.

  15. China is not the only country where there not only is there no Good Samaritan law, but where one could be prosecuted for rendering aid. In many countries in the Middle East, one risks prison for homicide should the aided person die; and even if prison is averted, one may still have to pay Diyya, or blood money, to the family of the deceased. This has been a topic recently raised in the United Arab Emirates and I suspect it will change in the near future; but there are still many, many countries where it is still lacking.

    Fortunately, before Yueyue met her fate, Emirati lawmakers began discussing the need for such a law, and in Yueyue’s death, the issue was pushed further into the light.

    However, while in this case we are talking about other countries, what about America? Does every state have an applicable and strong Good Samaritan law? In 2007, the California Supreme Court upheld an Appellate Court determination that a Good Samaritan was not immune from litigation.

    I don’t know the outcome of that case, but the mere fact it was permitted to proceed is concerning. Hopefully, in Yueyue’s tragic death, we can move forward and ensure that Good Samaritan laws are passed, and are strong, in any place where it is not already so. May she rest in peace, and may her memory bring a greater good to our world.

  16. This story made me hug my baby girl. She’s two as well, and I can’t imagine the pain of losing her in such a pointless fashion.

    I think your reaction was highly appropriate. -rc

  17. It’s not just in China…

    Last Friday night, October 21, at around 11:30 p.m., a 17-year-old high school soccer star was found bleeding from the head and unresponsive in the middle of the street. There were no witnesses, and nobody has come forward to acknowledge having seen anything.

    Initially, he showed signs of slight improvement, and was placed in a medically induced coma. All the efforts by the medical teams were for nothing though. On Sunday, he was declared brain-dead, and will be removed from life support after his organs are donated.

    Sad, but that doesn’t mean that anyone saw him and walked on by without helping. I hope the mystery of what happened is solved. -rc

  18. From Chris, Melbourne:

    ‘”So Zhu and other lawyers are drafting “Good Samaritan” legislation that would not only shield passerby from legal action if they help others in obvious emergency need, but may even penalize those who don’t.”‘

    “I hope the latter part does not become law…but to penalize people for being nearby and not helping is extremely dangerous…It’s not wise to make people feel they have to help…can I afford to stop and render assistance?”

    In regards to those parts, I would say it depends heavily on what is considered to be “help others in obvious emergency need”. Is calling contacting authorities (calling 911 or the local equivalent) enough to qualify as helping? If so, I would say the cost of doing so is low enough and the possible (and likely) benefit high enough to require it — especially with the prevalence of cell phones today. If they are considering requiring aid in excess of that, I agree that it rapidly becomes dangerous to require.

  19. Chris in LA responded to my earlier comment (heavily elided): “Is calling 911 enough to qualify? If so, I would say require it.”

    I’m still not in favour of laws that demand action in this way. What happens if there are five people there, four of whom have phones on them? Should all four have to ring emergency services? That would impose unnecessary load on the call centre. If only one does, are the others liable? What if there ends up an argument as to who’s going to call? And above all, who is going to make all these decisions on the spur of the moment, when someone’s lying dying?

    Far safer, imho, to leave it up to individual freedom. If someone is grossly negligent, that can be dealt with in other ways than making the specific negligence a crime.

  20. From Chris, Melbourne:

    “What happens if there are five people there, four of whom have phones on them? Should all four have to ring emergency services? That would impose unnecessary load on the call centre. If only one does, are the others liable? What if there ends up an argument as to who’s going to call? And above all, who is going to make all these decisions on the spur of the moment, when someone’s lying dying?”

    On the converse is the paradox (I cannot think of the name of it at this moment, so I cannot find any references about it): the more witnesses there are to an incident, the less likely any of them will provide assistance (namely, calling 911). This is due to the fact that each of them are more likely to think somebody else already did, and so not do so themselves. I would say that unless you are 100% confident (eg, talked to somebody who did or see emergency responders on the scene), it would be MUCH better to have the requirement and all 5, 10, or even 20 people call, then have a situation where 100 people see the incident, and not one calls as all 100 think one of the other 99 did.

  21. Although not excusing the lack of action by bystanders, it may help understanding to know that according to ancient Chinese philosophy, if you save a person’s life, you then become responsible for the rest of his/her life. If you had not intervened, the rescued person’s life would have ended. By thwarting the will of the gods, you have made yourself responsible for whatever happens to that person for the remainder of his/her existence.

    According to various British dramas, if you save a man’s life, he serves you for the rest of your life as your butler. I think I prefer that scenario. -rc

  22. Regarding that you might feel like you don’t need to call emergency services if there are four others already there with phones, I disagree. Part of the problem with a crowd of witnesses, versus when there is only one, is that often no one acts because they all assume someone else will. So, you might not call emergency services because you assume one of the others will and they assume the same of you so in the end, no one calls it in. Even if you see someone on the phone, they might not be talking to emergency services and might just be continuing to talk to someone they were already on the phone with prior to the emergency situation.

    I’ll weigh in, as an emergency responder myself. The thing to do is call out, “Has anyone called 911?” If no one says “Yes” fairly quickly, then say “I’ll call.” or (if you’re a responder yourself, and busily helping), point to someone and say “You: call 911.” Most people are more than willing to help, but don’t know what to do. If someone takes charge, they’re happy to have a job. -rc

  23. I see very little commentary about the man who did finally step in to help. I doubt a “trash scavenger” is any more dignified there than it would be here, yet that is the person who intervened. Possibly he felt he had little to lose so could act. All to often in emergency situations I’ve observed people acting in ways they would claim they never would; sometimes from fear or shock, often from ignorance.

    Samaritan laws in this country are not all that old, nor are they uniform; we should be cautious about feeling too much moral superiority on this topic.

    The H.U. is necessarily short, and necessarily centered on the person being honored. Thus, little about the woman who did finally come to the rescue. She is being hailed as a hero in China — Chen Xianmei and Yueyue are “household names” in the country, according to a report I read. -rc

  24. To Squander Two, Northern Ireland: “Chinese adults have been getting rid of their own little girls for decades. Why would they give a damn about someone else’s?”

    I would never attempt to justify the infanticide of which you speak, but there is a huge difference between commiting yourself to take care of a child for its entire life and making one damn phone call that might save that life.

    To Donald, Virginia: “The death of the small child is the worst of it but a close second is the parents’ reaction: almost an effort to absolve not only the drivers and those who did nothing.”

    As a father of two small children, I can understand their guilt/eagerness to blame themselves. Misguided, maybe, but hardly a “close second” to the death of a child.

    To Ben of Houston: “This story made me hug my baby girl.”

    Amen. I do it every day — there is no down side. 🙂

    To Chris, Melbourne: “Should all four have to ring emergency services? That would impose unnecessary load on the call centre. If only one does, are the others liable?”

    Wow, splitting some pretty fine hairs here, aren’t we?

    I have actually been in this situation once; I did not walk on by. The first thing I did was to confirm that SOMEBODY had called emergency services. (It happened in front of a gas station, and the staff had done so. It was their shouts for help that made me aware of the accident.) Then I stuck around to help direct traffic around the victim so he wouldn’t get hit again (and make sure the ambulance had a clear route of approach). Once the emergency team was getting to work, I reckoned there was nothing more for me to do, so I went on my way.

    I had no special training to do this, I just did the right thing.

    BTW, the driver in that incident didn’t stop either. Judging from the scene, I don’t think it was entirely his fault; the cyclist who got hit was probably partially to blame. (Accidents are like that.)

    But driving away and leaving someone to die; that is not an accident, that is a decision. That is different: That is unforgivable.

    And finally, to Randy: Thanks for following up on this; I saw the video soon after it happened because it went around on Twitter here in Asia. But I was not aware of the legislative impact — a positive outcome, albeit it a comparatively tiny one.

  25. The problem is no one wants to become involved in my job (Security) I have to become involved. I do not know whether or not it is my position, My Uniform, or just my aura, I have had complete strangers tell me their problems. I have friends whom I have met during my employment who will seek out my advice on a lot of different subjects. But all I can say is, become involved even if it is something like making a simple phone call! In this case one only had to just stop, maybe stand over the child, anything but just walk or drive on by! To me a hit and run especially when it involves a child is chicken shit! (Sorry) But the worst offender were the people who just walk on by and did nothing! Granted I have heard that a few people just did not see her laying there but I know some of them saw her and just walked or drove on by! Is this the way we are becoming? “It does not involve me so I will pretend I saw nothing” because I cannot take the time to render aid! Like I said something like just making a phone call or covering someone with a coat and standing over them to prevent further injury, maybe that is all the aid you can give. Maybe it was pointless! But how do you know unless you stop! Even a small effort is worth something!

  26. I can only hope China screws up their “good Samaritan” law less badly than we’ve screwed up many of ours. The INTENT of good-samaritan laws is all very good, but ours are often so poorly written that people are hesitant to help for fear of prosecution under the laws intended to protect their good intentions.

    I’ve heard this a couple of times, but no one has provided any examples. In which state(s) are they terrible? -rc

  27. Almighty God, please give your comfort to the family of the precious little girl, grant her a place at your table in Heaven, and convict those who walked past her bruised, broken body laying in the street, such that they feel the sting of personal shame and a desire to be more willing to help in the future.

    So, seems there is some idea on thread here that there will be changes in Chinese law (good Samaritan laws) as a result of this tragedy. As much as I’d like to see such occur, don’t bet on it. Human empathy is strong at the time of such a horrible event, but tends to fall off as time passes. And, any such legislation will take quite a while to wend its way through the Party.

    I don’t know how anyone could see this accident happen and not immediately rush to her assistance. I don’t know what in the human pysche would allow the drivers of these vehicles to run her over, repeatedly, and not stop to help.

    I know from personal experience what it is like to see something like this happen, and what my first impulse was… to help.

    About 20 years ago, I was driving down a 4 lane city street (with center median) in Norfolk, Va., when I saw the only car in front of me (about 100 yards) swerve, hit the breaks, then take off again. I then saw a person laying in the street, against the curb.

    I stopped my car, diagonally across the lane I was in, put on the flasher and jumped out. I found a female child of about 9. I’m not an EMT, but I knew enough to check her for a pulse and to ensure she was breathing. About that time, another car came by, saw my car in the lane and stopped. I told them to go to the nearest phone and call 911 (had no cell phone then). I retrieved a blanket from my car, and a pillow (though not sure I’d use the pillow as I didn’t want to move her).

    As I started to cover her with the blanket, she started convulsing. I held her as still as possible, kept her from bitting herself and took the opportunity to put the pillow under her head. Her convulsions ceased after a few minutes, and I continued to hold her until the EMTs and Police arrived.

    While I was doing this, I noticed the bicycle laying between the sidewalk and the curb, and figured she had gotten out into the street and hit. Shortly after the EMTs arrived, she regained conscienceness and told us that she had fallen off her bike, and didn’t think that the swerving car had hit her. And, from the small bit of skin on the curb, it looked like she had smacked her head when falling (pre-helmet wearing days).

    Thankfully, she survived. And, I’m thankful that I had enough sense, even at that young age, to not ignore her distress, but to help out how I could. No, I’m no Hero, nor am I trying to claim that status. I was just doing what I felt anyone would/should do in such a situation. And, for the life of me, I can’t imagine anyone else acting differently (though I’ve now seen how uncaring some folks can be).

    But, back on topic… I am hopeful that things will change, both in China and the rest of the world, such that people would not fear wrongful procecution, nor be so uncaring as to ignore the plight of someone in such a situation. But, I am a realist, too, and I’ve seen how politicians (of any stripe) will ride the coattails of a tragedy until the determine it is no longer in their political interest to do so. I fully expect that in 6 months time, most everyone will have forgotten about this incident, and there will be no passed legislation in China to address the “fear” that folks there might have felt about getting involved.

    Randy, you’re a well organized and bright fellow. Why don’t you report back on this in 6 months and let us know how this has all turned out.

    Why don’t I? Because that would absolve everyone else of responsibility. My job is to get information out there on what’s wrong and a suggestion — just one of many possible — of what can fix that problem. It’s then up to you to implement it where you are if that problem exists there. Is the Good Samaritan law good in Georgia (where you live)? Great. But if not, what are you going to do to fix it, now that you know the inhumanity that does happen when there isn’t such a law? Do your local schools practice Zero Tolerance in a ridiculous way? Then you need to stand behind parents when their kids are victimized by unthinking school administrators — whether or not you have school-age children yourself.

    Yes, absolutely politicians will drop their attention when the heat dies down. That’s why it’s your job to keep the heat up — to follow through. Because if you don’t, then aren’t you just as bad as the politician? This is why I’ve kept the heat up on Zero Tolerance — year after year after year — to show that it’s not simply an aberration in one place, but a systemic failure in many areas (and not just in the USA). And after ten years of keeping that pressure up, I’m starting to see newspapers editorializing against ZT, and legislators finally starting to do something about it. But we’re not there yet, and I’m not done keeping the fire hot.

    Saying a prayer for a little girl is nice. Helping to ensure the Good Samaritan laws in your area? Now that’s making her death mean something, to help ensure her life was not a waste. Expecting me to do it for you, though, is a cop-out. I do it here, where I live; it’s up to you all to do it where you live. “All politics is local.” -rc

  28. I know, it is showing my age, but I am put in mind of Kitty Genovese, who was murdered here in the US in the courtyard of her apartment bldg while her neighbors, good ‘ol Americans, watched it happen and did nothing. I was just a little kid then but if I remember it made the front page of news magazines all over the world and people around the world held Americans up to be heartless, cold blooded and without feeling for letting this woman die while no one did anything. 1964, I think it was. All I am saying is that throwing stones is dangerous if they can be thrown back in our face. This doesn’t have to be China or the USA, it could be anywhere when people are afraid to get involved, afraid of retaliation, frightened for their own lives.

    My heart goes out to the parents, I can’t begin to imagine what pain they are in and I will hug my daughter, again, the next time I see her. She may be 25 but she still appreciates being cared for and loved. Pay it forward, make this remind us to be the Samaritan.

  29. Wow, Randy. I make a comment on the Wang Yue story and suggest you do a follow up in 6 months, and you go off on a rant about it being my responsibility? Followed by a ZT rant? How did ZT get in there? Doesn’t fit with the story.

    From my comment, I’d think it apparent that I am one of those who get involved, at the “local” level (all politics is local, right?). And, for the record, I do have children in school, and I do fight zero tolerance rules. I’ve been known to read the riot act to my son’s Teacher and Principal when he was once accused of something for which there was no evidence, and only hearsay from a sub who wasn’t present when what supposedly happened supposedly happened. I told them, if they had evidence of wrong doing by my son, I’d provide the proper discipline, but if they wrongly accused him of something I’d come down on the Teacher and Principal like a ton of bricks. There have been no further such incidents after it was made plain that I’m involved.

    Again, I fought ZT here when a young lady was kicked out of school because she had a Tweety Bird key chain who was accused of bringing a weapon to school because there was a small “chain” attached between Tweety and the belt clip. I wrote letters to the school administration as well as to the local newspaper.

    So, basically, it seems you have used your response to seemingly accuse me of things that are not true, and have done so without knowing anything about me (other than that I’ve subscribed to True since the early days when the newsletter was differently named, and that I’m from Georgia.

    What, does being from the south make me an ignorant hick in your eyes?

    And, yes! You, who brought the story to the attention of many (I’d read about it on the web, but as you will note, there has not been much more since the original story), now have a responsibility to do the follow up. To give us the final chapter, so to speak. As a journalist/commentator You need to follow this story, as there isn’t much in the US papers or online, and you have contacts and resources which the average person does not have.

    But, instead of saying, “Yeah, I’m very interested in the outcome and what changes may be made or not made. And I will be following the story and reporting on it.”, you launch what seems to be an ad hominem campaign and go off on a ZT rant (maybe I am ignorant hick, because I don’t see the linkage, other than that this is an example where ZT makes sense. Zero tolerance for people who run over someone else and then flee the scene, which is not what you were getting at).

    BTW, I am NOT going to unsubscribe… I’m quite fond of True, and its entertainment value. But, I do think that you may have chilled my desire to participate in your forum in the future.

    My, but don’t you jump to conclusions! Where, exactly, do I call you an “ignorant hick”?! I wasn’t speaking to William “you”, I’m speaking to Reader “you” — your clue was at the very top: “everyone else”. And if you really can’t clearly see why I brought ZT in to this, you didn’t read very carefully. Slow down and think, rather than react, and you’ll “get” all of it. -rc

  30. Thank you for choosing this very sad incident for your honorary unsubscribe. I saw the video of this last week and found it difficult to believe that it was real. The gross callousness exhibited could only be something a twisted movie-maker could think of. But, alas, it was indeed real.

    But it does sometimes (perhaps often) take a tragedy to bring inequity to the forefront of our consciousness. I’m glad to hear that there are now those in China who will be pushing for “Good Samaritan” legislation. Another step in the right direction.

  31. @William from Atlanta: I’d like to see one as well, as not all of these situations have well publicized resolutions. Randy often does “Updates” for stories as the story develops or is resolved.
    If nothing else, not all of us “jumped to” the conclusion that you were wanting Randy to follow the story so you didn’t have to.

  32. Hoo-boy, that William in Atlanta doesn’t know how to read or hasn’t been reading you for very long. And he also seems to love singing his own praises. More than half of his original post was about him stopping for someone that fell off their bike 20 years ago. And THIS time he goes on about standing up for his kid! Both good things, I’m sure, but good God, man, take a breath! You spent three times as much time on your “accomplishments” than you did on topic! I hope your arm isn’t too badly sprained from the self-congratulatory back-slapping you gave yourself. In the words of the immortal Stan Lee, “‘Nuff said”.

    On topic, it is sad when we see human compassion take a back seat to the law. Good Samaritan laws are a relatively new thing, being less than 50 years old anywhere in the U.S. and not common to most states until 30 years or so ago. It is an unfortunate by-product of our litigious society that they are even needed. Most people don’t know (or don’t remember) why the Kitty Genovese story was a focal point for this. The people that “watched” were afraid of getting sued for helping. At that time, the law did not protect an untrained person rendering aid. Doctors, EMT’s, police, & firefighters couldn’t be sued but Joe Blow on the street was fair game for lawyers and there had been a few cases then that got media attention of average people getting sued for helping, but nobody cared because those cases didn’t illustrate the inevitable outcome of this path. Kitty’s did. That was when the letters flew and the phones rang and something got done. Bill, if you’re reading this, get off your ass and DO SOMETHING about getting ZT policies in local schools dropped. Defend ALL the kids, not just yours. Next time it happens, that kid might have a parent who is capable of or willing to stand up for them.

    But the bottom line is, such laws are needed. And if it takes something really ugly for China to wake up and do it, then so be it — but let’s not waste a life and not do it! -rc

  33. The comments on the Chinese blogs are interesting. For the talk about the good samaritan laws, the reason this is such a big deal is because of a well publicized case in Nanjing a few years ago where (allegedly) a man found an old person lying by the road, brought her into the hospital, where she accused him of being the one who knocked her down. The judge’s ruling was that he must have done it because he wouldn’t have helped her if he wasn’t responsible. The blog comments are saying that judge is responsible for killing Yueyue.

    There is a second case also being discussed at the same time. It is about a woman in Hangzhou who tried to kill herself by jumping into Xihu (West Lake). A tourist stripped off her coat, jumped into the water, and saved the woman. The thing getting commented on? The tourist was from the US, the Chinese who saw it did nothing.

    I too thought of Kitty Genovese when I first heard this (though I believe her story has been challenged since). This is not just a Chinese problem, but it is particularly bad here. There is kind of a clan mentality among many Chinese — if you are within their circle there is nothing they will not do for you, but if you are outside it you just don’t count.

    This does seem to be changing. When I first came to China 25 years ago you would never, ever see someone holding a door open for anyone else — the door would just be slammed shut whether or not anyone was behind. Among younger people now I do see more of an awareness and recognition of others.

    Similarly, years ago in free markets sellers would always try to cheat me because I was a foreigner, which was not the same as cheating a Chinese. In the last several years this has become rarer and rarer. Even at the level of peddlers they are coming to realize that a sale is a sale, and money is money, whether it comes from a Chinese or a western pocket. This is encouraging.

  34. I have stopped to help twice — once for a child hit by a driver that left (I stayed by that child’s side until the EMTs arrived) and once for a dog that was laying in the road after being hit. Both times the first question asked of me was if I was the one that hit the child or dog. I had to work hard to prove my innocence in both cases. And I was actually attacked by the dog owners after I took their dog to my vet at my own expense. Would I do either again? Yes, for certain. I don’t understand how anyone can turn their back on someone in need like this, even if there is a risk of a lawsuit. But I’m not sure I want to see “mandatory Good Sam” laws enacted.

  35. Saying that “the law” was an excuse for people not getting involved is a cop out. Selfishness and greed are becoming the norm rather than the exception. And not just in China.

  36. It has been a tradition in China for centuries that you do not interfere with “God’s” intentions towards others. e.g., if someone falls into the sea, then you do not rescue them. If you do, then you have interfered, you’re “playing God”, and that saved person is now your sole responsibility for the rest of their life.

    It’s a tradition that the Chinese themselves think needs to change, based on their reaction to this story. -rc

  37. The Kitty Genovese “story” simply doesn’t agree with the facts. None of the witnesses saw more than a tiny fraction of the incident. None of them witnessed the final rape-murder at all. Most of the people who heard something had no idea what they heard. See the Wikipedia article, which gives the details.

  38. Regarding the comment from Russell in Bejing regarding Kitty Genovese: Kitty DIED in the attack outside the apartment building where she lived — SHE told no story to discredit. However there were witnesses, safe inside the building, that heard & saw her being attacked and did nothing. Many of them did not realize she was being stabbed (and murdered by a serial killer), but they DID hear her calls for help and declined to even call the police. At the time, the press reported that these folks actually knew she being murdered watched it, and did nothing. While that is likely not true, the witnesses still failed to help someone who was clearly in distress and screamed for help loudly enough to bring them to their windows to investigate. I was only 7 years old when this happened, and it made an impression on me. I have never failed to call the police, or offer assistance if possible, when I have seen or heard someone in danger. What a horror to know that someone died and you might have prevented it if only you took some small action.

  39. Oh my… I just now read this, and my heart is breaking. I read the story, but only skimmed the comments. I simply don’t have the mental capacity to read them in depth or follow the arguments, but I see that some have referenced the Kitty Genovese case. That was my first thought as well, but I was thinking more of the Harlan Ellison story loosely based on that case called “The Whimper of Whipped Dogs”.

    Whatever the controversy surrounding the actual case of Kitty Genovese, Ellison’s story survives as a powerful commentary on it, and this case only proves his point, IMO. My heart grieves for this little girl.


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