Former soccer player Vladimir Gerasimov, 28, was knocked to the ground by a car while riding an electric scooter in China on March 8, reported The Moscow Evening News on March 12. The driver escaped from the scene, though Gerasimov was seriously injured. Despite the many passersby who walked by the busy street, no one assisted Gerasimov. He died lying there, two hours later.
Gerasimov, a former member of the FC Metalurh Donetsk, had earned many medals in competitions, according to the report. His fans in Russia lamented his death and posted videos of him scoring goals online to remember him.
Mainland Chinese have a history of being apathetic to strangers in need of help.
Chinese netizens pointed to the Peng Yu case more than a decade ago as the event that triggered a widespread trend of indifference. In 2006, Peng Yu in Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province, helped an elderly woman who had fallen and brought her to a local hospital. Later, the woman accused Peng of causing her fall, suing Peng in court. The Gulou District Court ruled in the woman’s favor and ordered Peng to pay her exorbitant medical bills.
The court’s reasoning was that Peng would not have helped the woman up if he was not guilty of causing her fall.
The verdict sent shockwaves throughout society.
In 2013, a survey launched by the state-run China Youth Daily showed that among 140,000 participants, 84.9 percent confessed that they felt apprehensive about helping elderly strangers.
A meager 5.4 percent of people said they would help an elderly person who fell to the ground, while 55.6 percent said they would simply walk away.
The fear of liability has resulted in a catch-22 situation whereby citizens want to help, but worry that their kindness might be taken advantage of.
In a 2015 article about a hit-and-run incident involving a Chinese woman with no driver’s license who hit a 2-year-old infant, current affairs commentator Jian Heng noted that the morality in China has declined tremendously due to the corrupt behavior that citizens witness under the Communist Party’s regime.
“There is a saying in China: When an elderly person falls to the ground, it’s a personal issue whether one chooses to help or not. But it’s a social issue if people dare not help,” he said.