China / Society

'Good Samaritan' protections proposed

By Li Wenfang in Guangzhou (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-07 08:51

A "good Samaritan" law, penalizing those who make false accusations against someone who came to their aid, is being considered in Zhuhai, Guangdong province.

A number of cases have been highlighted recently in the media where those offering help and aid were in fact wrongly accused of causing bodily harm. This has led to some people expressing a reluctance to help someone in distress.

A comic sketch on the theme was even performed during the Spring Festival Gala of China Central Television this year.

Reporters at the two sessions in Beijing have asked national political advisers and legislators if they would help people in distress.

According to a draft of the amendment posted on the website of Zhuhai legislative affairs bureau on Monday, a person who has received help or aid, and then makes accusations against the person who helped them, must provide firm evidence that the actions of the good Samaritan led to unnecessary injury.

A person falsely accused will be entitled to claim compensation and may lodge a civil lawsuit.

Zhuhai is taking a leading role, said Tan Fang, a professor with the South China Normal University in Guangzhou, who founded a website to cover the actions of good Samaritans in 2008.

"The draft specifies the protection of the rights and interests of good Samaritans," he said.

Wang Wei, a resident in Guangzhou, said, "the (proposed) amendment protects good Samaritans. I hope it can prevent or reduce the cases of people who do a good deed regretting afterward. It is important that a system provides them with protection."

Wang said he hopes other cities follow Zhuhai's example.

In the proposed amendment, the highest financial compensation for the family of a good Samaritan who dies in the act of saving someone else will be raised to 1 million yuan ($162,900) from 250,000 yuan, Tan said.

A good Samaritan who is severely injured while helping someone else, and loses the ability to work, will receive 800,000 yuan.

Those who assist a good Samaritan in saving others are also entitled to financial compensation.

The draft also offers financial support for medical treatment and support measures for social insurance, employment and housing.

The draft highlights the need to publicize the work of good Samaritans and provide any necessary help to their families.

Tan said, however, he believes that the government must take a leading role in acknowledging the deeds of good Samaritans.

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