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Altruism is alive and ...

Updated: 2014-02-14 08:15
( China Daily)

A man recently helped a woman, who was knocked down by a car in Taizhou, Jiangsu province, reach a hospital. But before venturing to do so, he took a photograph of the scene with the woman to avoid being later accused of knocking her down. Several similar cases were reported across the country in the run-up to and during Spring Festival, leaving people with mixed feelings, says an article in People's Daily. Excerpts:

Altruism has been an integral part of Chinese culture, and there has been no dearth of good Samaritans in the country. But of late, some instances of good Samaritans being blackmailed by the very people they helped have made altruism a complicated issue.

That people have become more business-minded is a good thing. But it is one thing to do a cost-benefit analysis in business and quite another to measure whether it is worthwhile to help people in need. If people start in indulging in such materialistic calculations, they will further lower social and moral standards in China.

Fortunately, there are still people like the man in Taizhou; they reinforce our belief in altruism and kindheartedness by continuing to help others despite knowing that the existing system and rules in the country do not offer enough protection for good Samaritans.

The discussion of such a moral issue cannot be separated from the complicated collective reality we live in or from people's individual situations. But one thing is for sure that, optimist realists like the Taizhou man have made greater contributions to social virtue than people who only indulge in empty talks and use the Internet to criticize everyone. Such optimist realists deserve our sincere respect and appreciation.