Some blamed a past series of incidents in which people who stopped to help elderly strangers who had fallen found themselves accused of wrongdoing and ordered to pay compensation. Others pointed to a pattern of corruption and sense of impunity by top Communist Party and government officials that has made the general population more uncaring and self-centered.
The case of the 2-year-old girl prompted local government authorities in Guangdong province to consider whether a law is needed to protect “Good Samaritans” who offer assistance to those in need. The China Daily newspaper reported the Guangdong Communist Party’s legislative affairs committee this week posted a notice on its “weibo” microblogging site asking for public advice on shaping a new law.
“Please stop the coldness,” the posting said. “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 of lending a hand to those in need of help.” One newspaper said the province was considering establishing a reward, the equivalent of $78,000, for people who risk their lives to save others.
On Friday, the government-controlled media began a counter-offensive against the bad publicity from the story of Yueyue, with major papers running stories about kind-hearted bystanders who have helped save people from traffic accidents. One case involved a 20-month-old boy named Xiaojie who was hit by a car but quickly pulled to safety by “kind-hearted” bystanders — coincidentally, perhaps, in Foshan, the same city where Yueyue was hit and left to die. Xiaojie suffered only a broken leg, media reported.
“Rescues show caring nature of passers-by,” was the headline on the story in Friday’s China Daily newspaper. The Global Times headline on the same story was: “Foshan has another near miss with child.”