Chinese law may have prevented driver and bystanders from helping toddler

Tara - posted on 10/22/2011 ( 5 moms have responded )




After a Chinese toddler was run over by a car and left for dead by passersby in a Foshan market, some are suggesting China’s legal system may deter Good Samaritans from helping accident victims.

RELATED: Outrage over shocking video

A video culled from surveillance footage and posted on YouTube and its Chinese equivalent, Youku, shows a van driver striking the 2-year-old girl, pausing with his vehicle straddling the girl’s torso, then driving forward, running her over a second time with his back wheel.

None of the 18 people who saw the 2-year-old’s bloody body stopped to help. The girl, named Yueyue, was then run over again by a light-duty truck.

In Ontario, among other places, a Good Samaritan Act protects from liability those who aren’t health care professionals who perform first aid on a victim at the scene of an accident. In many European countries, such as France and Germany, Good Samaritan laws impose on citizens a duty to rescue.

In China, neither type of law exists, says Pitman Potter, a law professor and Hong Kong Bank Chair in Asian Research at the University of British Columbia.

“That kind of system dissuades people from helping,” Potter said. “People have been either sued by the family of the injured person or held responsible by local authorities for the harm, and so getting wrapped up in that is something people want to avoid.”

In 2006, a Nanjing man who escorted an elderly woman to the hospital after she broke her leg was ordered to pay 40 per cent of the woman’s medical bill. The rationale: It was inconceivable that the man would go to such lengths to help the woman if he wasn’t somehow responsible for her injury.

“The reasoning of the courts is that if you hadn’t done it, why would you have taken them to the hospital? No normal person would have taken them,” said Donald Clarke, a law professor at George Washington University who maintains a blog on Chinese law.

Some Chinese sources also suggest the van’s driver left the girl to die because compensatory damages for death are often less than for a long-term injury. For the latter, damages might include medical expenses and income compensation for missed-work time over many years. Death involves a one-off payment.

“If she is dead, I may pay only about 20,000 yuan ($3,180),” the van driver told the China Daily before he surrendered to police. “But if she is injured, it may cost me hundreds of thousands of yuan.”

China introduced compulsory car insurance five years ago. But an article in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post earlier this year said many drivers ignore the requirement.

According to Potter, personal liability insurance is also uncommon, meaning it would be financially prudent for a driver to flee an accident.

Some Chinese social media users have called the general indifference toward the girl a sign of a deteriorating moral society.

“This society is seriously ill,” commented one poster on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo. “Even cats and dogs shouldn’t be treated so heartlessly.”

Regardless, Yueyue’s mother told the China Daily she will not judge those who didn’t help her daughter, who remains on life support in a Guangzhou hospital.

“I bear no grudge and refuse to be disappointed by society,” she said.

Wow is all I can say. WOW, the driver admitted this info to the police?!


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Katherine - posted on 10/23/2011




I think you have to look at the differeneces of where we live compared to where it actually happened!!!

In Canada we have the compassion, we love our children, no matter what we are given, we are allowed to have as many children of any sex we want to.

In China they are allowed to have only 1 child, they all hope for males so that their family name will live one.

I think it all depends on where you are.

I know that I love to travel, but watch what happens around me when traveling. In canada I am required to help those around me who are injured as I have first aid and cpr training and work in daycare, because I have first aid and cpr I am required to offer help, support or assistence. It can be turned down. But like the article stated the passerbys dont want to be charged the fees of hospital time, etc, neither would I if I were in that situation, if it happened here i would def jump in and help

[deleted account]

That's so disturbing.

That whole 'why would you help someone if you weren't responsible for their injury' concept?! Um.... it's called human COMPASSION which apparently a lot of those people just don't have. :(

Tara - posted on 10/23/2011




She died, saving the driver of the van tens of thousands of dollars in compensatory pay.

Iridescent - posted on 10/22/2011




You found it! It is awful. Is the girl still on life support, or did she pass away since? The other post said she had passed away, so I'm not sure.

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