I’m definitely not much of a saint. I try, but living in China can sometimes makes me realize we need more saints in this world. I love this country but some days I just have to scratch my head and ask “why?” Often times I’ll never get answers to those questions because so many here are taught never to ask “why?” I’ve been here awhile now, seen a lot of things, and gotten to know this culture pretty well. But the hardest thing to get used to is how the general public views the value of a human life. The average family unit in China is rock solid. They take care of their own, work hard to ensure their offspring’s å¹¸ç¦? ï¼ˆxing fu = health & happiness), and usually go above and beyond to help close family out. But outside one’s own family, generally speaking, the spirit of volunteerism is almost non-existent. If you talked to a Chinese national about a non-profit company or a charity to help the homeless, you’d probably get a lot of blank stares as very few here have ever been involved with such a thing. For a communist/socialistic republic, there are sure a lot of people left in the dust because of an almost complete lack of social programs to help out those in need.
If it’s one battle I would love to fight here its this one: life is valuable. If you witness an accident in China, you will certainly see two things: 1. someone severely injured and 2. a large crowd gathered around watching to see what happens. If you want to help the person who is an inch from death, then you must also assume responsibility for that person, often times including medical bills and legal repurcusions. So most people won’t blink an eye or risk their tail to prevent a loss of life, even though some times it can be prevented. Timing is everything, one minute this way or that could mean life or death. It’s messed up and totally backwards from my home in America, where if you DON’T help the injured person, you could be held liable. And if you decide to be the good Samaritan and help out, well we have the good Samaritan law to protect you from any legal ramifications. I’m not trying to toot America’s proverbial horn, but if someone is about to die and you can stop it, we need to help them! No matter what country or what culture you’re in!
I submit to you story of little Yueyue. Last Wednesday this little girl was walking around unattended by her parents (that’s another story altogether) and was run over by a truck at a gas station. The gruesome events were recorded by an outdoor station camera. Please watch only if you have the stomach for it. It’s a Chinese site, so it will take awhile to load, but it’s really quite astonishing what happens next.
You tube watchers in the states may have better luck here
For those of you who don’t want to watch, I’ll just give you a brief recap. She wanders across the road and a truck hits her and runs her over with the front passenger side tire, but he pauses after the front tire rolls over her, then proceeds to pull away running her over with the rear tire as well. Then you watch as minutes go by, and people walk right by the girl, cars and bikes both drive by, glance at her and keep going. Now I’m no doctor, but a 2 year old lying bloody and flattened in the street squirming for her life probably needs some medical assistance.Â And then, just when you think it can’t get any worse, another truck comes by and runs over her again! Altogether 18 pedestrians/drivers pass within inches or feet of her, never considering to stop and help. In several cases they walked/drove around her!!! I can honestly say she would grab my attention! But would I do anything about it? Of course I would! I think a lot of people would, but that’s where exists a great divide in culture between China and other countries; you look out for yourself and your family, but mostly just yourself. Finally a lady who was collecting garbage saw her and pulled her off the road, found the mother who frantically picked up her lifeless daughter and rushed to the hospital. The latest report is that little Yueyue is still in critical condition but is improving.
To quote the last line of the above article where the driver who originally hit Yueyue was speaking to the media: “If she is dead, I may pay only about 20,000 yuan ($3,125). But if she is injured, it may cost me hundreds of thousands yuan.” Yup…..that about sums it up perfectly over here in China, the mentality that I pray will change as we learn to live not for ourselves, but for something much greater. What’s the value of life in your country?