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Are Chinese Heartless? EO Translators on Yueyue

With 2-year-old Yueyue unlikely to leave her hospital bed; we ask EO's young Chinese translators whether the indifference of 18 witnesses is symptomatic of heartlessness in today's China.


Qi Changlong

As a regular QQ user, I heard about the news not long after it happened. My first reaction was “these king of things happen” and I didn't even bother to open the link. The reason why it didn't surprise me was simple. I live in a country where unbelievable stories happen.

Your question was very specific though - is it an extreme example or a big problem? I think it’s a big problem. Maybe some people are losing beliefs - an old man lying on the streets and no one is willing to help because anyone who came to the rescue might be blamed for the accident and then even blackmailed. It’s horrifying.

The 'leave it alone' thought is everywhere now.

I think the Foshan thing will happen again.


Feng Jie

I remember the "Peng Yu case" in Nanjing, 2006. Peng Yu helped an old lady to the hospital after she had fallen down, but was accused of knocking her down and taking the responsibility. This does discourage many people. I guess that some people now are just trying to keep away from unnecessary trouble, but this is pathetic for our society. I hope this kind of tragedy won’t happen again, and I hope that it will awaken the public conscience to do the right thing instead of being indifferent and selfish.


Li Meng

Although it’s tragic, I‘m convinced it is a rare case. Of course, those passers-by deserve to be punished and condemned, but I won't say that this couldn’t happen in other countries. Not only China, but also in other parts of the world, people seem to have abandoned virtue and adopted the ethics of indifference. The issue is getting worse everywhere.

It might also have something to do with the culture in cities like Foshan and I'm sure it couldn't possibly end up like this in bigger cities, where people are more educated. I say this all because of the reaction of the baby girl's mother after the accident. Facing the media, she didn't spend much time expressing anger and resentment, instead she showed her gratitude to those people reaching out for her family and said that she still believes in the good will of the majority of people in the world. Her response makes me believe that I am not living in a place where people have lost their conscience. 


Yang Ziman

It is hard to believe that people could be so cruel and numb.

I believe it is not an isolated event and it reflects deeper problems within Chinese society. It is difficult for ordinary people to live a safe and sound life. Though China's economy is gaining strength, problems emerge concerning the quality of its growth. Rules that are supposed to guide people's behavior are missing. For example, people breathe polluted air, eat gutter oil, drink tainted milk, buy apartments at freakishly high prices and travel in trains that may crash. People can do evil things and get away with them because rules are easily altered and the supervision system is not working.

 The drivers that killed the little girl kept driving on after they rolled over her body because the public security system as well as the legal system is not working. (If the person a gets run over, survives and becomes disabled, the driver has to pay compensation for the rest of the handicapped person's life. So the driver might just kill the victim. If he gets caught, he only faces a one-off compensation. In some sense, this unreasonable law pushes the driver to kill the girl.) People turned a blind eye to the girl in the pool of blood because there's no sense of community among them. It is not conventional for people to engage in a common course to make the community a better place to live. NGOs are not encouraged in Chinese society.



Song Chunling

If 18 people ignored the baby, I find it hard to describe it as some kind of coincidence, especially when you can see the people who saw the baby, stopped and walked on. I don't know what’s wrong though. The other day I caught up on some of the discussions on our university broadcast - it was a guide for helping old people when they fell down, which made many people recall the when courts published helpers.

Since primary school, or even kindergarten, everyone has learned to respecting the old and take care of the young (“尊老爱幼” and “ 尊老爱幼是中华民族的传统美德”). It sounds ironic now. It also reminds me of one of LuXun's article, those indifferent "看客”(onlookers).

I feel bad, because I don't know what people care about and what they can see now.

I hope that things would have been different if the 18 passers-by had been different people. Of course I can’t be sure, but I still believe there are lots of people who would have behaved differently.


Comments(The views posted belong to the commentator, not representative of the EO)

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