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Draft law would promote bravery

Draft law would promote bravery

Updated: 2012-03-22 07:45

By Wang Zhenghua in Shanghai (China Daily)

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Definition of heroic deeds unveiled at a legal seminar in Shanghai

Residents of Shanghai can now see if their brave acts make the cut as "heroic deeds".

In a draft good Samaritan law, unveiled at a legal workers seminar, a heroic deed is defined as an act taken to safeguard national or public welfare, or other people's personal safety or financial security.

Those who brave a risk to combat illegal behavior, assist agencies to fight crimes, or take action in emergencies, can even apply for compensation and an award.

Acts obligated by law or by agreement, however, should not be viewed as heroic deeds, the draft said.

"The new draft has a better definition and encourages heroic deeds," Hao Chenyu, a scholar who has taken part in drawing up the draft, told China Daily on Wednesday.

Shanghai is the second region in the country to put the matter before its local congress this year.Along with the province of Guangdong, the city is believed to lead other areas in China in encouraging people to take up the fight for just causes and better protect those injured in doing good deeds.

Last year a string of incidents sparked a heated debate on declining moral standards and on whether the country should enact laws to punish people who shy away from lending a helping hand to accident victims.

In the case that most appalled the nation, a surveillance camera recorded a 2-year-old girl in Foshan, Guangdong province, being run over by motor vehicles twice while 18 passers-by ignored her. The girl later died despite medical treatment.

The draft also made clear the punishment for those who get a helping hand but then turn around and falsely accuse the good Samaritan.

In one well-known case four years ago, Peng Yu, a young man in Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu province, was found responsible by a local court for injuring a 66-year-old woman. Peng, seeing the woman lying hurt after a fall, rushed her to a nearby hospital. However, the woman insisted that Peng was the one who knocked her down and sued him.

Yet there is still a long way to go for the draft to become law, officials said.

Luo Fei, a publicity director at the Shanghai people's congress, said on Wednesday that the draft is now a preparatory project on this year's agenda of the law-making body. A formal draft should be drawn up before it could be subject to public comment and official discussions.

"There is not a concrete timeline for that," Luo added.

But the draft has already excited heroines like Wang Liping, a 29-year-old IT company worker known online as Moli for her stories of fighting pickpockets on her own.

The good Samaritans need the detailed definition on what are heroic acts and social recognition, she said on Wednesday.

Official figures show that the city has awarded more than 4,800 people for brave ry since May 1999, with the oldest of them 86 and the youngest 14.