Elderly falls in the middle of the road, no one helps because fear of being framed


(Netease) Yangze Evening news reported, on July 11 at noon, an old man felt on the ground while riding a tricycle on the Xinghua Yangshan Bridge. He lay on the ground and could not get up. For as long as 15 minutes, many people passed through there, some even stopped by and watched, but not one person gave the old man a hand to help him up. Why is that? According to explanation, the main reason why many people are reluctant to help is because fear of being framed for their good intentions. However some people also said, if they were at the scene, they would create the “evidence of being innocent” and at the same time help the old man.

Yesterday afternoon, a forum post titled “Elderly falls in the middle of the street, many passerby do not dare to help” appeared on Xinghua City 400 (400.com.cn) website. The poster “Peng Peng” said, on the same day around 12 pm, he was riding a motorcycle home from the local fruit market, when passing by Xinghua Yangshan Bridge he saw a old man lying in the middle of the road, next to him was a small tricycle. The old man was lying on the ground motionless, with blood seeping through his left eyebrow, probably had lost control of his bladder also because his shorts were wet.

Many people watching the scene, but on one was helping the elderly. Someone even reminded the others at the scene, “Cannot help him up, it will ‘stick’ to your hands”. “Peng Peng” dialed 110 and 120 and then took these pictures with his camera. The old man lay in the middle of the road for about 15 minutes then was picked up by the ambulance.

“Peng Peng’s” post caused many local internet users’ concerns. Hundreds read the post in short time and many left comments.

One Internet user witnessed the scene said it happened in front of his shop. He went to look after many people gathered. At the scene, he heard someone was reminding people, “Don’t help, be careful later his family balms all on you.” Sure enough, the crowd of people at the scene just “watched the excitement” and on one gave a helping hand. He saw no one was helping and thought of the “Nanjing old lady Xu incident” so he returned back to his shop.  (On November 26, 2006, in Nanjing, a man helped an old lady who felt on the floor to get up on a bus ended up being accused for causing her injury. He was sued by the old lady Xu’s family for 130,000 yuan of medical cost. The incident caused great debate on the Internet at the time. Later they settled on an agreement after negotiation. The exact amount was not publicized but was rumored to be 40,000)

Another Internet user said, a university student in Henan also helped an elderly up who felt on the floor, but he ended up being sentenced to pay 80,000 yuan as compensation for causing the injury. Therefore when people see this kind of things, the only thing they will do is calling the police. But he said if someone was willing to record the entire process with a video camera, he would consider helping the old man.

In the comments, reporter saw many different views. Someone said, we should not doubt everyone in the world just because of the “Nanjing old lady Xu incident” and the “Henna university student incident”. Imagine how you would feel if the person lying in the middle of the road was our family member. We should always help. Of course, while doing a good deed we should also use our head. For example, in order to give self the “evidence of being innocent”, you can talk to the old man, and record the conversation, or record the process on video with your cell phone.






    1. I know this will be surprising for you, but not all of “the Chinese” were there.

      1. But the average.

        I have seen stuff like this myself. A child almost dies and 50 people stand around and watch. The only one who actually helps is me, the laowai. This is the normal China.

    2. The same happens in other places, and not even from fear of lawsuits. There was a case in New York just earlier this year, someone on the sidewalk for 45 minutes before anyone even called 911.

      1. Thank you Anon,

        At least the passerbys here called the ambulance which arrived in 15 minutes. In this age of liability, that’s probably the only “smart” thing to do.

    3. 这位老湿,不要用虚伪的高尚来评论群众的无奈。大家都是人,你这种师透了的也并非圣人。哪凉快哪呆着去

  1. I’ve read a report about this. Many people watched it ,then the responsibility was “shared”. So , no one came to do some first aids for that guy. Or maybe no one has aid-skill there.

    And it’s just a pic , could I believe the ambulance was on the way?

  2. i wouldnt help either, too many people get screwed after helping people who get hurt on the streets. sad maybe, but i’d just keep waking

    1. Have to agree. You help someone in China and you’ll get screwed. Same thing with offering food to the poor or to monks. They’ll collapse and claim food poisoning then sue your **s. My wife used to warn me about this all the time when we were in China.

      These kind of actions are considered common enough that EVERYONE in China is aware of it and it’s turned everyone in to “bad samaritans”.

  3. is calling an ambulance out of the question?

    when i first heard the story of the Nanjing lady, a lot about China really clicked for me.
    a very far spread phenomenon manifested by the trust issues mao instilled in society.


    1. “no one helps because fear of being framed”.. I mean what can be infered from this news which has only one pic? I mean , can’t say no one help him. Who knows ? a video would make me believe more

    2. Mao has nothing to do with that, in my country, Russia, people wouldn’t help for the same reason, and I think they are much more likely to be jailed for helping than in China.

      Definitely wouldn’t help and wouldn’t call the ambulance, at least not from my personal cell phone.

  4. This sounds ridiculous to me. I understand fear, but fundamentally, if you think it is good to do good things then you should do them, even if you are worried about negative consequences.

    If you think you should do good things when it’s not particularly in your best interest but it also won’t apparently hurt you, then that’s not the same.

    There is a right and a wrong in this situation. The right thing to do is help the man up. If he presses charges, that’s the wrong thing to do.

    But that’s the problem isn’t it? You can only control your own actions.

    I was going to KTV late one night with some friends of mine (girls). We passed a fight that broke out (Maybe a guys finds out his girlfriend is leaving/cheating on him, because he sees her with the other guy).

    Two guys fighting, then six guys fighting. Then one guy on the ground, getting kicked in the head by a pair of dress shoes and a girlfriend crying. There were about twenty people standing around not doing anything, maybe a bit more than half were women. Some might have been calling the cops.

    I walked by with my friends (girls) and went inside. I thought if I’d jumped it, it would have suddenly gone from 5 Chinese guys on 1 Chinese guy, to 15 Chinese guys on one foreigner. Plus, I didn’t know what would happen to my friends (Chinese).

    I don’t know if I made the right call or not. But I didn’t try to stop it, and I think that was probably wrong too.

    So I can sympathize. But that doesn’t make up for it. Help up the old man who lying in the street, bleeding from the head. Consequences be damned.

    (But that said be very, very careful about his neck. If that’s broken you could paralyze him through carelessness.)

    1. Be honest, would you help the guy knowing that there is a greater than 80% chance that he’d sue you? You have to realize that a lot of these folks have no medical insurance. They may not be able to pay for their care. Their only alternative is to sue your rich foreigner **s. Trust me on this, they won’t hesitate to do what they feel they have to do. To them, the right thing is to sue you. This will also result in the seizure of your passport and notification of your status to airport security to have you detained should you somehow manage to try and leave.
      And if he does become paralyzed, through fault of yours or not, you will be paying for his care for the rest of your life. And being a foreigner, the courts will set your payments at triple what it would be for a local. (chances are part of it’s going to go to the judge anyway)

      BTW, the situation you were in, you did the right thing. I’ve seen fights like that where the cops stood by the side and watched until they had enough officers show up that they had a huge numerical advantage. If the cops can’t get help or don’t feel like dealing with it, they’ll just walk away and ignore it.

  5. There are situations in which I see help problematic – that is when someone incautiously moves the injured person and by doing that causes an even worse injury. It can happen in case of neck or back injury, when only trained personnel should transport the injured.
    Generally speaking, you should call ambulance, and while waiting for it – stay with the man and try to talk to him (to make sure that he is conscious): in such way you will both do the right thing and avoid any troubles…

      1. Imagine if your on the ground crying for help and bagging some one will help you. Apparently a lot of Chinese people are afraid to help you. How it that possible that people can accept only to think about themselve. Very selfish thought and not good for the environment. Probably there also a lot of good experiences, but most people in the comments see only the negative experiences. A giant country like China you have to look further if you want to growth in business and personal ways.

        I believe the government have to make changes in the law system and show Chinese people that will be not framed. This first step can tip the point that Chinese people will help other people.

        1. A good samaritan law would help. Some places in the US have this. If you see someone in need and it won’t endanger you, if you don’t help, you’ll get arrested later on.
          Unfortunately, this law would be like most laws in China right now, pretty much unenforceable.

  6. A “Good Samaritan” law could alleviate some of the problems. It still wouldn’t give you total immunity though but I believe there would be a much, much heavier burden of proof if the injured tried to sue you or as many people believe set out on a scam from the start. Saddest thing is that Chinese people don’t trust the neither the lawmakers, the police nor the courts so they probably still wouldn’t help if they thought it even remotely possible that they might get stuck on a 6 figure compensation of which a certain percentage would end up in the pockets of a judge to secure a favorable verdict. Sad, sad, sad.

    1. Yeah, things like this can’t be fixed until corruption is weeded out and people trust in their justice system, law enforcement, and public officials.
      Like you said, sadly, this is the root of most of China’s troubles, the sheer scope of corruption is extremely difficult for westerners to fathom unless they’ve lived in China long enough.

  7. seconded about a good samaritan law in the context of a more transparent legal system.

    truth is, i probably would’ve walked away, and i think a lot of you here at chinahush would have too. we all want to be good people, but not if you get screwed over for it. be more charitable to the locals who don’t have much of a choice but to suffer all this bullshit.

  8. I was in China last year, and an old man tried to crash his wheelchair into our tour bus (no joke), in order to get some compensation money.

    It’s sad, but things like these happen in an increasingly litigious society. They’re definitely catching up to the West in more ways than one.

    1. I was in a cab that parked in an area with a lot of tourists in it and as I opened the door a Chinese girl crashed her bike very hard into my door to try to get compensation. It scared the living daylights out of me! I got in a big fight afterward and wound up making a mad dash out of there so I didn’t have to pay. The whole thing made me feel like a fugitive and I didn’t even do anything wrong. Scary stuff.

  9. it’s fucking retarded!
    and the fact is its true, it happens everywhere!

    no one ones to get involved in sh* now.
    Even here in UK, no one doesn’t want to help you if you fall sick outside

  10. Not to say that any of this should be the norm, but… just to throw it out there. I don’t believe the news agencies would be interested in some university kid helping up a old woman… unless he’s got sued by that woman afterward. As I see it, tt’s really just mass media lead exaggeration of a social problem.

    That in itself is a problem, because it can only worsen whatever it had reported.

    Same thing happened with the 2008 market bust, and just about everything else. Because ratings and readership is above good journalism, this is really the media’s fault its search for profit.

    Just my take on this social problem.

  11. Another way to get around the problem is if the gov remembered it is supposed to be communist. Free healthcare and done.

  12. As a foreigner in China who rides a bicycle a bit, I’ve had a number of incidents where other cyclist have come up to me and ‘crashed into me’ (I was stationary, waiting at traffic-lights) then claimed I owed them some money… so I know what some of the people are thinking about and I can sympathize…

    In one incident, a guy came up to me claiming I had ‘splashed water from a puddle’ onto his pants and had to give him 100RMB for drycleaning. I told him to *&^%$%) and when he challenged me with 3 other guys looking on, shaking my bike-lock at him did the trick!

    In another incident, I noticed a guy running alongside a bicycle being ridden by a middle-aged lady. The guy was leaning over to grab hold of a lady’s handbag. I quickly steered my bike between the would-be thief and the lady’s bike, saved her handbag and sent the guy scrambling.
    She turned around and saw me riding closely beside her – she stopped, yelled and screamed at me for hurting a fellow Chinese (the guy who was trying to steal her handbag) because I was a ‘stinking foreigner who should go home!’. I politely informed her that the guy was reaching for the purse on the back of her bike and that I positioned myself between her and him, as did another old man who saw the incident – she scoffed and said that I owed her 200rmb for apparently scratching her bike. Some gratitude for you – should have let the guy steal her purse!!

    In a car accident, the first thing they do is get out and check the damage – to the car, not the humans! Then get on the phone to call the insurance before an ambulance!

    I feel sorry for the guy who fainted and fell off his bike, the old lady who fell down….but if the families think they can rip money out of people for helping, then there is no help coming!!!

    1. am sure you still have more other incidents to Tell, am not sure which city in chinaland you live but sounds like shanghai.
      I got small Bike that i mostly use during weekends and when ridding i never loosen the brakes bcoz any scratch could cost me thousands for properties and worse if its Human.

      1. This sounds like any city in China really…..sounds just like 2 cities i’ve lived in while i was in China. I have to admit, i’ve been “victimized” in minor ways once or twice myself. Live and learn. There is a reason i rarely went out alone. Always tried to at least have company when going out unless it’s really close by. My in-laws always arranged to have “handlers” to watch out for me more often than not. Couldn’t have something happen to the “breadwinner” ya know. Me and Western Union keep them in a nice comfortable lifestyle.

        Threads like this make me realize how much China has changed me. Not for the better i think. sigh

  13. China is so huge and ethnically diversified that there are too many uneducated people from all corners in big cities nowadays. Parental education is the key here…

  14. Get a passerby or someone who was watching to be your witness, and help the old man up? Or talk to him and see if he’s okay. If he’s not responding, call the ambulance.

  15. I have seen this kind of situations myself in china many times. In Wuhan, a little girl on a bicycle hit by a car. The people seemed more concerned about the shiny car than the little girl. And another incident in Nanjing, just like this, an old guy on a tricycle fell, and nobody helped.

    In china people are extemely helpful to family and friends, much more helpful than westerners. On the other hand, westerners are more willing to help strangers. Chinese rarely help strangers. Even if its an old man on the street. Strange, chinese always keep telling me to have respect for older people. But what about this? Where is the respect for the elderly?

  16. When I first came to China in 2005 the other foreigners told me DON’T EVER GET INVOLVED… And I have followed this advice for 5 years.

    Man beating his wife in the street? Keep walking.

    Parents beating the hell out of their kid in the street – not my problem.

    I know cpr and first aid – have never used it in China and never will.

    I have watched old people walk into buses and people on bikes crash into cars and numerous accidents – I watch but never get involved.

  17. You know, Mao isn’t really held in that much esteem in China anymore. People spout cheap words about how great he was but that’s just the party line. A lot of Chinese don’t think that much of him. Now, his #2 guy. That guy is held in much higher esteem than Chairman Mao. If you don’t know who he is, you can look him up so you can find some way to trash talk him too 🙂

    As for North Korea, no one forced the ideology on them. The powers that be chose to adopt that ideology for their own reasons, power? population control? The stuff is almost like a religion isn’t it?

  18. Unless you’re a doctor, you’re better off calling the ambulance. When someone gets hurt like that, any sudden movements may cause further injuries, for example, helping someone up. If calling isn’t enough, you may also help by directing traffic.

    I’ve actually came across something like this in Canada. I didn’t help him get up or anything, but that’s because there was a someone else who knew first aid. She directed someone to call the ambulance, and she also directed the man to not make any sudden movement. The man was still breathing so he didn’t need CPR. And I’m sure people with first aid know how to do CPR on someone who’s badly injured. But yeah, she stayed with him until the ambulance came.

    We have a choice to do something and we definitely don’t have to get sued for it in the process of it.

    Not to mention, there are places in the world where the law states that we need to help people who are in need of help.

  19. Well,I guess I can understand the people whoe feared Bout being accused but they could’ve of called for help or something. And people stop with the racist comments,do you people think all chinese are like this,many states and race are like this.

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