24 November 2017
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas

  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia
  •    - China
  •    - Hong Kong
  •    - Japan
  •    - Macau
  •    - North Korea
  •    - South Korea
  •    - Taiwan

  • » 09/12/2011, 00.00


    A changing China shows no respect for the elderly

    In China, an elderly man falls, bleeds from the head, but no one stops to help him. The case becomes a cause celebre. Online surveys indicate that most people would not help for fear of false accusations and blackmail. China’s ancient ethics once extolled respect for family and the elderly.
    Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – On the morning of 4 September, in the boomtown of Wuhan, Mr. Li, 88, fell in the street and injured his nose. Dozens, hundreds of people passed him by, but no one raised a hand to help him as he lay on the ground. Only an hour and half later, when his relatives arrived, was he taken to a hospital.

    The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the ruling Communist Party, ran an online poll that asked if people would help an elderly person in distress. More than 80 per cent of respondents said that they, too, would not help for fear of extortion.

    Another poll, on Sina Weibo, China’s leading microblog, showed a similar result: 43 per cent said they wouldn’t help, 38 per cent said they were not sure what they would do, and only 20 per cent said they would “definitely” help.

    In another survey, fewer than 7 per cent of 20,000 respondents in an online poll by Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television said they would stop to offer help. More than 45 per cent said they would turn a blind eye and 43 per cent said they would help only if there was a camera.

    Many in China still remember the case of Xu Shuolan, a 65-year-old woman. On 20 November 2006, she fell and broke her hip whilst boarding a bus in Nanjing.

    Peng Yu, a 26-year-old man, was the first to help her. He gave her 200 yuan and escorted her to the hospital, staying with her until her family arrived. In thanks, Xu sued Peng for 136,419 yuan, or US,000, claiming that he was the one who knocked her down.

    Despite the lack of evidence, a court ruled against Peng, ordering him to pay Xu 45,000 yuan. Its decision was based on the “daily life experience to analyse things” standard.

    Since then, there have been other cases. In one, a court ordered compensation be paid to a woman who fell four or five metres from a car because she was afraid it might hit her.

    In 2009, a Nanjing man fell at a bus stop and reportedly yelled out to the bystanders, “I fell on my own, you all do not need to worry; it had nothing to do with you all.” Then, and only then, did someone offer to help him.

    The problem is so widespread that China’s Health Ministry issued the 41-page document, “Technical Guidelines for Preventing and Treating Falls by the Elderly.” According to Chinese state media reports, the document had been in the works for a few years and includes detailing technical protocols for helping drowning victims and children involved in automobile crashes.

    Quickly, it sparked a heated debate on the internet, becoming the second-most popular online trending topic. Some doubt its usefulness though. For instance, the guide suggests calling an elderly person’s relatives to take him or her to hospital. However, “if we can't get in touch with them, what can we do? Let them wait to die?” Shui Yinhe, a freelance journalist, tweeted on Sina Weibo.

    For many, the guide is of little use because it can neither replace simple human decency in providing help nor prevent cheats from filing fraudulent lawsuits.

    Others turned to black humour, suggesting that would-be rescuers should wait for the arrival of witnesses before helping an elderly person in need. Alternatively, they could take pictures with a mobile phone before intervening, never give their name or avoid using their own phone to make emergency calls.

    All this points to a major break in China’s history. With deep roots in Confucianism, Chinese culture has always venerated parents and the elderly for as Analects 1.2 says, “It is honouring parents and the elderly that makes people human.” Indeed, “Isn't that the root of Humanity?” it asks.
    e-mail this to a friend Printable version

    See also

    15/11/2016 14:54:00 JAPAN
    Too many accidents caused by elderly drivers, more rigid road traffic laws

    The rate of road accidents caused by senior citizens is growing steadily. The new Road Traffic Laws will take effect from March 2017 to try to contain the increase in accidents.

    12/05/2006 CHINA
    Labour relations lawsuits skyrocketing in China
    Last year saw more than 300,000 labour disputes go to court, a 20.5 per cent rise over the previous year. China's untamed economic boom is the main culprit and the trend constitutes a great danger to the country.

    17/10/2008 CHINA
    Melamine-tainted milk a “good thing”
    Company officials say scandal enabled them to “improve the quality” of their products. Judges reject lawsuits for damages filed by parents with children now suffering from kidney problems. In Japan melamine-laced egg powder is found.

    07/01/2009 CHINA
    Another child dies from melamine-contaminated milk
    The official number of victims rises to 7, but there are suspicions about the health authorities, who are refusing to conduct autopsies on the dead children. Families are being prevented from speaking with the press.

    29/01/2016 10:10:00 CHINA
    Qufu: church construction on hold because it would overshadow Confucius

    The construction of a Protestant church continues to be controversial in the philosopher’s hometown. Some Confucian scholars openly opposed the project five years ago. Now the issue is back in the news. The building itself is still in planning stage. Locally, religions co-existed for centuries.

    Editor's choices

    “Hectic hours” before pope's arrival in Yangon, Catholics to help pilgrims

    Paolo Fossati

    Some 200,000 people are expected at the solemn Mass at Kyaikkasan Grounds, including Buddhist and Muslim leaders. Some 6,000 kids will take part in the Mass for young people the next day. Filipinos, Australians and Thais are also expected for Pope Francis’ apostolic journey. From our correspondent.

    The genocide of Yemen:First bombs, now hunger, thirst and cholera

    Pierre Balanian

    The coalition led by Riyadh blocks the arrival of fuel needed to run the wells. Over a million people without water in Taiz, Saada, Hodeida, Sana'a and Al Bayda. According to UNICEF, 1.7 million children suffer from acute malnutrition”; 150,000 children are likely to die in the coming weeks. The silence and neglect of the international community. The threat of hitting crude-cargo ships. Yesterday, Saudi Arabia allowed the reopening of Sana'a airport and Hudayda port, but only for humanitarian aid. An insufficient measure.


    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.


    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google


    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®