13 Junio 2017 11:36
She’s run over once, and then a second time. And no response from either passersby or drivers who witness the scene. No one attempts to save the victim
At first it’s hard to understand what’s going on. The security camera images show a woman on a zebra crossing. She seems oblivious to the passing cars. After a few seconds, things get even weirder when the woman is seen stopping in the middle of the road and lowering her head, her chin tucked in towards her chest. It looks like her eyes are closed. It also looks like she’s waiting for the hit. And then it comes.
The first vehicle, which looks like a taxi, runs straight into her. The woman is left on the tarmac lying perpendicular to the direction of the traffic. The car drives on as if nothing’s happened. Witnesses to the incident wait on both sides of the street without moving, as if all this were perfectly normal.
And that’s when the 55 most disturbing seconds you’ll see in a long time begin.
The woman is sprawled out on the tarmac, completely still. None of the passersby on the scene show any signs that anything unusual is happening. Nobody attempts to approach the victim and no one does anything to stop the traffic.
Dozens of cars pass by, some even swerve around her, but none show any sign of stopping. The traffic lights turn red and several people cross, walking passed the crumpled body with complete indifference, almost without giving her a second glance.
The traffic lights turn green and the cars come again. The woman raises her head for an instant, but her body remains still, stuck to the tarmac. Nobody makes any effort to come to her aid. After a few seconds, a grey S.U.V. runs over her again. Right over her this time. The wheels crushing her body.
The video, uploaded onto the Internet last Wednesday has 30 million views. On the Weibo social network, the oriental version of Twitter, the original post has been shared more than 70,000 times and has generated around 90,000 comments. And everyone is asking the same questions:
How could none of the people present that day, in that corner of China, have shown any sign of a reaction to such a horrific scene?
What kind of society reacts with such brutal indifference and coldheartedness at someone else’s misfortune, pain or danger?
'What kind of society reacts with such brutal indifference and coldheartedness at someone else’s misfortune, pain or danger?'
According to The New York Times, the incident took place on 21 April this year in Zhumadian, a prefecture-level city in southern Henan province with a population of over 7 million. And the answer to the questions above seems to be an overwhelming fear of a legal backlash.
'In China, lots of people are wary of helping others for fear that it could be a scam.'
Insurance fraud is the order of the day in the western world. We all know people who have staged falls, traffic accidents or being run over to pocket a fortune in alleged damages. In China, there are also those who would consider themselves professionals in this field, and who add a local peculiarity into the bargain, which is that they penalise the good samaritan.
The NYT cites the case of a man in Nanjing who took an injured woman to a hospital in 2006, and in so doing set a precedent the country has apparently never forgotten. Once they arrived she proceeded to accuse her rescuer of pushing her and asked for compensation. She ended up winning a court case and the man had to pay her for injuries he wasn’t responsible for. He paid for offering his help. What's that all about?
It seems that in China there is a prevailing moral logic of civil responsibility, according to which, if one person tries to save another, then the former must be responsible. If you help, you’re a suspect. And this is not only the logic in the street, but also in the courts. The rescuer, will often be found guilty in the end.
This is how a Weibo user known as Ranmo responded:
‘If I helped her to get up and sent her to the hospital, doctors would ask you to pay the medical bill. Her relatives would come and beat you up indiscriminately (assuming it was me that had run her over) and ask me for money. Traffic police would then ask you to submit the data in your automobile data recorder and write up your witness account. It would go on till the next morning. Then the relatives would casually say ‘Sorry and thank you’ and then you could finally go home, exhausted, and deal with the blood on the back seat of your car. Am I stupid?’
The video you’ve just seen has ignited a heated debate. Or, more precisely, has reignited the debate, because, this is not the first time something like this has happened in China. In 2011, there was a similar incident with a 2-year-old girl.
Since he came to power, President Xi Jinping has made public morality a priority. Various campaigns have been waged against corruption and to promote citizenship and common values. Many believe his efforts are falling short.