Promoting altruism important

Updated: 2011-11-02 08:02

(China Daily)

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Several taxi drivers in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, refused to carry a policeman, who was injured while chasing an escaped criminal, to hospital recently when his colleagues asked them to. Finally, a sanitation worker carried the injured policeman to hospital on his electric bike. Unlike the passers-by in the tragic Yue Yue case, the authorities should punish the cabbies according to law to send the right message across society, says an article in Beijing News. Excerpts:

According to the People's Police Law, citizens and organizations should help police in the course of their duty. Although the law does not talk abut specific duties or responsibilities for citizens, it says that cabbies or other public transportation owners have the moral and legal responsibility to help police.

But rights and interests are part of legal liabilities. Doing a good deed has risks, which need to be compensated. In the Hangzhou case, some costs like the economic cost of delaying normal operation and improper detraction, or the cleaning cost would have been involved had a cabbie helped the policemen.

Since it is normal for people to be confused in such cases, related regulations should be enacted to make things clear.

The People's Police Law refers to compensation such as "giving rewards" if expected results are achieved and providing "comfort" and compensation to a bereaved family that makes personal sacrifices or spends money in helping others. But it is a pity that such regulations exist only in words.

The authorities should encourage citizens to do good deeds as well as take measures to protect their rights. Once the "rewards" are guaranteed by law citizens could face moral and legal penalties for avoiding their responsibilities, while those fulfilling their duties can be rewarded. If this is done, an increasing number of people will come forward to help others.

(China Daily 11/02/2011 page9)