China looks to Weibo to help good Samaritans

Updated: 2011-10-19 17:17

By Wang Qingyun (

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The government of a province where a two-year-old girl was run over twice and left bleeding in the street has turned to China's version of Twitter for advice on how to protect good Samaritans, Southern Metropolis Daily reported.

The Political and Legislative Affairs Committee of the CPC Guangdong Committee on Tuesday published a message on Weibo calling for citizens to make suggestions on how the law could better assist those who offer help to people in danger.

The message read: "Please stop the coldness. Guangdong province is going to hold a discussion to criticize the behavior of leaving people in mortal danger out of indifference, and to advocate the spirit to lend a hand to those who need help. Your advice may be written into the province's legislative rules."

The move comes just six days after a two-year-old girl was left fighting for her life after being hit by two vans in Foshan city, Guangdong province, and left bleeding in a busy market street with 18 passers-by failing to help or make an emergency call. The video of the horrific accident sparked nationwide outrage. The girl was eventually dragged away by a 58-year-old female scavenger named Chen Xianmei.

Psychologist Hu Shenzhi praised the effort. He told Southern Metropolis Daily that legislation will better restrict the bystander effect that tends to keep people from helping those in need.

But the move was criticized by a representative of Guangzhou municipal people's congress.

Zeng Dexiong, also dean of the philosophy and culture institute at Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, said that the two drivers violated the law and whilst the passers-by should be criticized for their sense of morality, laws punishing their behavior may encroach upon people's rights.

How to better protect good Samaritans has become a serious issue in the last ten years in China. In 2001, 32 representatives made a proposal to revise the criminal law to include "crime of abandoning people in mortal danger."

The case of Peng Yu in 2007 in Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu province sparked nationwide concern after he helped a 65-year-old woman lying on the ground with a fracture. The woman accused Peng of hitting her.

The court first ruled Peng pay the woman 45,876 yuan ($7.192) in compensation, though neither side was found guilty of any wrongdoings.

Peng later appealed to a higher court where the woman withdrew the charge and Peng paid her 10,000 yuan.

Zhu Yongping, a lawyer from Guangzhou-based Datong Law Firm said, "If we had the law to guide morality, maybe the latter wouldn't have degenerated so much."