83-year-old man fell over, passers-by watch him die

| December 31st, 2010

Dec 29, an 83-year-old man fell down on a sidewalk in Fuzhou City. 2 passers-by attempted to help but were held back by others for “their own good”. With the crowd watching, the old man laid on the icy floor till his last breath.

According to a witness Mr. Chen, yesterday around 2:55 P.M., the grey-haired old man was walking on the sidewalk when he suddenly fell over with his face down. Mr. Chen said there was no one nearby when he dropped. Since there were several gravels on the sidewalk, the old man must have slipped and fell over.

At that time, five or six people surrounded him and watched, but no one stepped up to offer help. The old man lied on his stomach with his eyes closed tight. Blood came out from the corner of his mouth, while his hands trembled.

“Is he still alive?” someone asked.

Several minutes later, two young women forced their way through the crowd and crouched down to the old man, “Could it be heart attack? See if there is medicine on him.”

One of them held the old man’s hands, the other tried his pocket, but didn’t find medicine. Then they grabbed his arms and were about to pull him up when someone said: “There is hidden camera around here. You girls should not get involved. Things like this can be very hard to explain.” The two thought for a while and finally let go. They stood up and called 120 and 110 (ambulance and police).

The old man had stopped breathing when the ambulance arrived. The police found a passbook with 100,000 yuan deposit on the old man’s body.

Onlookers suggested that he was on his way to the bank across the road. Around 3:30 P.M., the old man’s daughter, granddaughter and other relatives hurried to the site. The daughter kneeled down by her father in tears and covered her father’s body with her coat. The daughter said, her father’s surname is Zheng, 83 years old. He is a retired veteran cadre.

Up till now, the cause of this incident is still under investigation.

Story like that is not uncommon here in China. Most of the time it is not that they don’t want to help out, but the fear for possible “misunderstanding” and “responsibility” that follow up have taken the better of them.

4 years ago in Nanjing, a granny fell down when chasing bus, a guy named Peng Yu who just got off the bus came to her rescue and sent her to the hospital. However Peng was later sued by the granny for having pushed her down and resulted in her bone fracture. Peng ended up paying 45,000 yuan for his good deed. When he walked out of the court, he said: “I will not be so impulsive (to help) any more.”

When kind help was returned with unkind accusation, people would rather step back from what they originally thought as ethical obligation. Such extreme cases are strongly contagious: from individual confusion to group anxiety, and further get to influence the general social behavior. Social trust will come to extinction down the road.

(Source from sina.com and sohu.com)

30 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

  1. dilladonuts says:

    Societies all across the world has failed. Money above all.

    • Type Two says:

      No, this is a contemporary China sociological characteristic.

      • dilladonuts says:

        no, this happens all over the world, step your game up.

        • MAC says:

          Yeah yeah, keep trying to convince yourself that Chinese society is tolerable.

        • Type Two says:

          No, this has nothing much to do with love of money or even worship of it. This is fear brought on by rampant and widespread corruption because of ineffective and outright lack or enforcement of laws and regulations. Chinese people live in fear of each other, in a society that feeds off of each other cheats and murders each other because of the pressures endured without release inflicted upon them by the communist party.

      • Type TwoB says:

        Lu Xun called this habit of blankly staring at another‘s misfortune 看客文化…not so contemporary after all,and not limited to China。

    • justinchina says:

      in fact, most countries have something akin to what the US calls their “Good Samaritan” Laws, which basically summed up means that you cannot be taken to court due to injuries sustained while helping a victim. Yes, you can find examples of the psychological phenomenon of people standing and assuming someone else will help…but this article, and the case mentioned of Peng Yu fellow are instances where people refused to help because of fear of litigation and unjust accusations. THIS does not happen all over the world. people may be apathetic, or assume that others will help, but they do not fear, and certainly do not discourage others from helping because they are concerned about being forced to pay restitution.

  2. Joe says:

    This sad but grounds food good discussion. It probably started with the bystander effect
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect but then some of them were actually afraid to help for fear of being blamed for the problem. Being blamed for the problem when you’re actually trying to help is something that is unheard of where i live.

  3. Joe says:

    *This is sad but grounds for good discussion.

  4. gongjiao says:

    hey kedafu, song of the post

    Radiohead – Just

    hey china

    ya do it to yourself

  5. xino says:

    that is exactly how people act!

    I don’t know why people can’t do shit when bad things happens!

  6. Regina says:

    The fact that there was a camera around is even more of a reason why they should have helped. If the old man did decide to sue to two women, they would have video evidence that the women did nothing. Not only would the man (possibly) be alive if they had helped him, but he probably wouldn’t have sued anyway, once he found out the whole ordeal was captured on camera.

    If you’re not going to help him, move on. Don’t stand there and stare like dumbasses.

    • gongjiao says:

      actually you are forgetting about having to bribe the camera man who may have been in cahoots with the old man in the first place. think this through!

      On a more serious note, anyone remember the seinfeld series finale?
      4 Americans thrown in jail on a good samaritan law to serve cold hard time.

      • aflame says:

        The camera man alone is not enough. You have to bribe the cop, the judge,… as well or they will annoy the hell out of you by dragging the case for months

  7. Joel says:

    The bystander effect always seems to get brought up in these kinds of stories, but in China there’s a whole lot more going on. This is tooting my own horn, but I’ve got a three-part series about how the Good Samaritan seems to be missing in China, starting here: The Good Samaritan with Chinese characteristics (Pt.1): examples. Part Two explores why this happens in Chinese society, and Part Three asks what to do about it. If anyone is interested in putting some real thought into this issue, then I’d be happy to hear you ideas.

    • 2B-real says:

      From what I can tell this sort of the natural selection process in China. If the person died they were meant to die. No need to intervene the inevitable.

      Something of the same in the US but with forest fires. If a forest fire was known to be started by lightning the fire fighters are to stand back and contain but let it burn because it was an act of nature or God.

      Mainlanders want help but really don’t need it. Like vonskippy says below. too many people, and its a dog eat dog world. Unproductive people have no place in this world as inhumane as it sounds its the ultimate truth of disconnected societies of the world. It is almost as if China is in stampede mode where its every man for themselves. If you happen to get trampled to death so be it, a criminal less crime.

      In the US this used to be a problem, laws were implemented to punish those who were caught not intervening or assisting a person in need. But just recently as last year helping a person in need can be punished by the rescued in civil court for financial gain. Sad what sick twist this world has turned to.

  8. vonskippy says:

    When you have 1.6 BILLION replacements is it really surprising at the lack of sympathy? One less mouth to feed, one less person competing for living space, etc etc. As the world gets more and more overcrowded this type of reaction will become the norm.

  9. HW says:

    This just sounds like exaggeration layered upon exaggerations. The article already start by being weepy and overly-emotional. People are still being thrown into a fit of being pessimistic of society and insulting human nature, every time that they read something like this. Ok, we know already, you see through the “evilness” of human and maintain an extremely cynical view on life. Congrats. Go to your corner and feel more depressed about society.

    I doubt the true events happened like this.

  10. Gary says:

    Is there no Good Samaritan law of any type in China?

  11. john digmeme says:

    These events are reported quite frequently on this and other blogs. This same litigiousness is a scourge throughout the world. The UN needs to cap the number of lawyers worldwide to stop the feedback loop. Lawyers beget laws beget lawyers.

  12. stev-oh says:

    ya i know “the fear of misinderstanding, being blamed” or whatever but cant the people who swarm around him atleast call the amulance instead of watching like a bunch of retards

  13. JoeyJoe says:

    A friend of mine’s dad was lying in a pool of blood on Chaoyang lu in Beijing next to his electric bike with blood coming out of his ears etc. for 20 minutes surrounded by bystanders until a lady who was passing by with her kids called emergency services. He later died in hospital.

    I never heard of anyone getting successfully sued for money because they called an ambulance to save someone in need of urgent medical assistance.

    I do believe the situation is worse in China than in the West although similar situations do arise there as well.

    (the vast majority of) Chinese only care about:

    #1 their family members, who have supreme importance, the degree of importance being directly related to the degree of kinship (i.e. children/mom and pops uber alles);

    #2 their friends (nonprofit acquaintances,a relatively rare occurrence in my opinion);

    #3 profitable acquaintances or people that may start to fit the description after having been helped.

    The rest can be impaled and left to rot in front of their faces and they won’t budge.

    Correct me if I’m wrong…

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