Planet China

A parable of pity

­­Last month a student drowned while rescuing two children from going under in a lake in Henan province. Onlookers credited the man with saving the children’s lives, but one of their mothers claimed he had merely fallen into the water himself and not drowned while rescuing the youngsters. She later admitted that she had lied because she wanted to avoid the risk of paying his family compensation for his death.

The reaction was biting. “I doubt anyone would dare become a Good Samaritan in the future,” the hero’s cousin said.

The news from another poor province – Anhui – last week was of one man’s devastation that he didn’t do more to help a person in need.

The motorist surnamed Zhang was driving to visit his mother when he saw an injured woman on the road. Discouraged by cases in which rescuers have been blamed by trickster victims and extorted for cash, he decided not to help. When he got to his mother’s apartment, he found that she wasn’t at home and “a sense of dread” enveloped him, the People’s Daily reports. He rushed back to the injured lady, only to find that she was his mother, who had been a victim of a hit-and-run accident. She died on the way to hospital.

“My car doesn’t have a dashboard camera so I didn’t stop,” a tearful Zhang later told a TV station, suggesting that he would only have intervened if he had footage proving he was not responsible for her injuries.

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