Good social behavior dictates that aid be rendered to victims of car accidents. Not so in China—and, it turns out, with good reason.
According to the video footage by Chinese news website Shandong 24 Hours, a motorcyclist was making an illegal turn at a traffic junction when he was violently struck from behind by a speeding black car. The motorcyclist was thrown onto the intersection.
The black car simply drove on, leaving the man lying motionless on the road. Vehicle and foot traffic slowly increased, but nobody bothered to stop and help up the man—buses and cars drove slowly by, cyclist pedaled on, and pedestrians just kept on walking. Cars that would have otherwise crushed him are seen to slow down and merge slightly into the next lane—the video shows dozens of vehicles passing him.
The accident took place at about 6 a.m. on March 9 at Weifang, a city in eastern China’s Shandong Province. The police did not get a phone call about the accident until six minutes after the accident took place, by which time the man was likely passed by hundreds of people, according to Shandong 24 Hours. It is unclear how long it took for emergency teams to come to his aid, or what his present condition is.
Another local news website, Qilu News, reported that Mr. Chen, the driver who took off after hitting the man, turned himself in to the police five hours later. He was fined 2,000 yuan (about $308) and placed in detention for 15 days.
According to Qilu News, Mr. Chen would not have been held accountable for the accident if he had stopped, since he had the right of way—there was a green light and the motorcyclist was making an illegal turn. When asked why he didn’t stop, Mr. Chen said he thought the man was fine.
Extending a helping hand is a tricky business in modern China, as Good Samaritans sometimes end up penalized for their troubles. There are numerous tales of elderly Chinese who lie on the street feigning injury, in order to blackmail those who come to their aid. Chinese insurance companies have even begun offering specific policies to protect do-gooders from the wrongful accusation of scamming old folk.
At times, the general unwillingness of Chinese to help their fellow man has resulted in tragedy. In 2011, a toddler in southern China was run over by a van and a large truck in an alley. Not one of the 18 people who saw the crushed toddler came to her aid, and child later died from her injuries.