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The girl who helped fainted street cleaner? Yeah, that was all staged

Posted: 08/3/2013 9:21 am

Another story of news being completely staged has surfaced in Guangzhou, and is going viral on Sina Weibo.

Shanghaiist translated the original story into English from the Guangzhou News:

A female street cleaner fainted on Huancun road on Wednesday due to the sweltering heat. Many passersby ignored the unconscious woman until a small girl, walking by with her mother, insisting on stopping and shielding the woman from the sun with their umbrella until help could arrive.

A man surnamed Fok told reporters that once he heard the little girl shout “Mum, quick, help her!”, he was shamed into doing so himself.  He and several of his collegues carried the woman into some shade with another passerby telephoned for an ambulance.

It’s a touching story that drew attention partially because nearby Shenzhen had just introduced a Good Samaritan Law. The law aims to encourage people to help those in need, and this case warmed the cockles of the hearts of those who believe in helping the vulnerable.

The original photo of the girl helping the street cleaner.

The only problem? The whole thing was faked by the reporter from Guangzhou Daily.

A reporter from Xin Kuai Bao decided to investigate the story and spoke with the street cleaner, surnamed Tang. Tang said the picture published in the paper was taken at 12 noon on Tuesday (July 30). Tang said she was told to lie down three times so the reporter could test different camera angles. After after about an hour and half, the reporter took the picture that was published in the paper.

“They told me it was for an umbrella commercial.  How would I know… that it was for a newspaper? If I knew, I would never do it no matter how much they pay me!” Tang said.

The street cleaner was recruited for the role a day earlier. “I was cleaning the street on Zhucun Hulin Road around 3pm on July 29th when four adults came along; one of them was a skinny man wearing glasses.  He came up to me and asked if I could help them shoot a commercial. He told me that they think street cleaners have tough jobs and lives. They’d like to do a non-commercial advertisement for an umbrella brand, and they’d pay me RMB 100 for it. I agreed without thinking too much about it.”

Tang said she was paid RMB150 at the end for her “hard work.” Xin Kuai Bao also reported that the young girl was also paid RMB150, and that her “mother” was one of the four people who originally approached Tang a day earlier.

 (h/t @MissXQ)


Shenzhen Good Samaritan Law inspiring some, but not all, to do good

Posted: 08/2/2013 11:00 am

The little girl in Guangzhou, image courtesy of Shanghaiist

Yesterday (August 1) was a big day for this country as its first Good Samaritan law was passed in Shenzhen. Even though the law only applies in that particular city, one must look for signs from around the nation as to whether altruistic behaviour is becoming more common and whether it still needs to be enforced.

Shanghaiist reported yesterday the heartwarming story of a little girl in Guangzhou who came to the rescue of a street cleaner who had fainted due to the heat:

A female street cleaner fainted on Huancun road on Wednesday due to the sweltering heat. Many passersby ignored the unconscious woman until a small girl, walking by with her mother, insisting on stopping and shielding the woman from the sun with their umbrella until help could arrive.

A man surnamed Fok told reporters that once he heard the little girl shout “Mum, quick, help her!”, he was shamed into doing so himself. He and several of his colleagues carried the woman into some shade while another passerby telephoned for an ambulance.

And a story from Nanfang Daily about a bus driver who came to the rescue of a nearby car crash victim showed that it’s not only those who are too young to be versed in the ways of the world who dare to be Good Samaritans.

The paper reported yesterday that the driver, Mr. He, stopped the bus on Kaifa Road in Huangpu District after seeing a motorcyclists trapped under a car after a collision. He explained to the passengers what was going on, parked the vehicle and helped rescue the motorcyclist.

But as always, there was at least one particularly disturbing story.

Guangzhou Daily reported on its microblog that a man in his 70s collapsed on Walking Street in Chongqing. One young person tried to go up to help, but he was talked out of it by members of his family, according to an eyewitness account.

The old man’s corpse in Chongqing, image courtesy of Tianya

The elderly man was dead by the time paramedics were called to the scene.


Meizhou firefighters help an American tourist out of a tight squeeze

Posted: 03/15/2013 4:10 pm

Visitors to China might end up paying the “foreigner price” when they want to buy something, but they also might get extra attention when they need some help.

The fire department in Meizhou, in Guangdong Province, was mobilized to help one American man pull a ring off his finger. This, only days after a foreigner collapsed on the Guangzhou metro and was given CPR from a concerned metro attendant.

It all happened on Thursday (March 14), when an American couple were touring Guangdong. The man’s finger began to swell, apparently for no reason, and his ring became unmovable. In quite some pain, he went to a hardware shop for help, then went to the hospital, but nobody was able to get the ring off successfully.

Finally, they turned to a group of firefighters. By now, the man’s finger was seriously swollen and the skin was beginning to fester. The firefighters had a close look at the situation, then pulled out some tools to secure his finger in place and cut through the ring to release it. After some nervous moments, it worked.

The American visitor wanted to pay for the rescue, but the firefighters all said no. He then gave them the thumbs up and said “thank you” in Chinese.


Foreigner who collapsed in the Guangzhou metro rescued by Chinese heroine

Posted: 03/12/2013 4:26 pm

We’ve all heard scary stories about people in China ignoring those who badly need help, leaving some of them to suffer alone in public. The topic seemed to hit a climax last year in the case of little Yueyue, who was hit by a car and ignored by more than a dozen pedestrians who stepped over.

But here’s a case which shows things are not as dire as they seem: a heroine by the name of Zhang Jie helped rescue a foreigner, who collapsed in the Guangzhou metro on February 9.  The foreigner, named James, collapsed at Liede Station on Line 5.

The station’s closed circuit television shows James and his partner walking onto the main metro concourse. He doesn’t get far as he pulls up and falls backwards, landing heavily on the concourse. That’s when an attendant arrived.

Beijing Cream tells us more:

A subway attendant, Zhang Jie, supported James’s head while her colleague rubbed his chest. He remained unresponsive for a minute, at which point, while waiting for rescue personnel to arrive, Ms. Zhang began performing CPR. She said he remained unresponsive until after her third attempt, when he let out a breath of air.

A few minutes later, James was breathing on his own. He was sent to hospital, where he made a full recovery.

James is all back to normal now, but no word on what caused him to collapse.

It’s nice that, occasionally, stories do have happy endings.


Laowai leaves over 20,000 RMB in cab in Guangzhou, has it all returned

Posted: 11/28/2012 7:00 am

Guangzhou has a reputation across China of being one of the country’s seedier, more dangerous cities, but that was disproved (if only for a moment) this week after a laowai left a wallet containing over 20,000 RMB plus credit cards and important documents in a taxi in Baiyun District Nov. 24 and had everything returned to him by the driver, according to Guangdong Satellite Television.

The driver told media he had driven about 100 metres when he noticed the passenger had forgotten his wallet after getting out at around 11 p.m. He immediately handed it into the company who eventually returned it to the man around 11:30 a.m on Nov. 26.

On receiving the wallet, the unidentified foreigner expressed gratitude, but the driver said he was only doing what he was supposed to do.

A European in Suzhou had a similar piece of good fortune this year, according to Mingcheng News.

The wallet that was returned to the European in Suzhou

Earlier this year, literary wunderkind Han Han wrote of how the honesty he had seen a cab driver in Taiwan display showed that Taiwan and Hong Kong were protecting Chinese culture.

Since then, several stories of cab drivers returning valuable items have emerged on the mainland, suggesting a positive trend and setting a good example to the rest of society.


Brazilian man beaten in Dongguan, passers-by watch

Posted: 05/7/2012 12:23 pm

A Brazilian man was beaten in Dongguan for trying to prevent a thief from stealing a woman’s handbag on May 5, according to South China Television.

A Dongguan resident identified as Miss Zhu was carrying her handbag as she crossed the road at 7:30 in the evening when an assailant approached her from behind and attempted to steal it. The Brazilian, identified as Mozen, put his umbrella between the man and the handbag to prevent the robbery, and he was quickly set upon by three men with sticks and belts.

Miss Zhu turned around and saw the foreigner being beaten and it was explained to her that Mozen had helped prevent her bag from being stolen. According to a passerby named Mr. Tang, 20 people watched the beating take place without intervening.

The men continued to beat Mozen until his head was bleeding severely and then fled. Miss Zhu and Mr Tang then approached Mozen, asking if they could help. Together they took him to hospital.

As well as the estimated 20 witnesses who failed to intervene, there were two zhianting, or public security stands, within 30 meters. The officers at the public security stand defended their non-intervention by explaining that preventing fights was not their role.

Chinese netizens have been quick to condemn the passersby for failing to intervene. One Sina Weibo user with the name of Ping Bei exclaimed, “these people are an embarrassment to China.” Another commenter by the name of Dream1Hunsha said, “I just hope China gets exterminated soon.”

Non-intervention has become a hot topic in China since October last year when 2 year-old Wang Yue was left for dead by passersby after being run over by two trucks. Tentative steps have been made to encourage Good Samaritans, such as when a Uruguayan woman was awarded 3000 yuan (US$476) for rescuing a drowning woman in Hangzhou.


Shenzhen enacts a law to protect Good Samaritans, but will it work?

Posted: 12/2/2011 5:24 pm

Yueyue passed away after 18 people failed to offer help.

The death of 2-year old Yueyue in Foshan in October set off a firestorm of debate in China over why people tend not to help others in need.  Eighteen people saw the injured toddler laying on the ground after being struck by a car, twice, and it wasn’t until a scrap collector came across Yueyue’s limp body that she finally got some help.  Yueyue, of course, later died in hospital.

The issue is complicated.  There have been high-profile cases in China in which Good Samaritans helped, only to be taken advantage of later.  The China Daily points to one particular case:

Most people attribute the apathy of the onlookers partially to a high-profile 2006 case in East China’s Jiangsu province in which a driver who stopped to help an elderly woman was later punished.

Peng Yu, then 26, said he stopped after seeing a woman fall and escorted her to a hospital, but she accused him of knocking her down with his car, and a court ordered him to pay her 45,000 yuan ($6,900) in damages.

This has led many to adopt an attitude of avoiding anything perceived as potentially dangerous and staying out of other people’s business, no matter how dire.

Shenzhen has decided to tackle the problem by introducing a Good Samaritan Law. It is designed to protect Good Samaritans who help a victim by freeing them from any legal liability for the condition of the person they helped.  CNN takes a look at reaction on the Chinese internet:

As with all major announcements, netizens are buzzing with opinions on China’s most popular micro-blogging portal Sina Weibo. While many supported the draft, some acknowledged the unfortunate necessity for a Good Samaritan law in China. One user, @YiWuZhiMing (以吾之螟), commented: “Given the current social norm in China, perhaps establishing a legal statute is the only way to protect the remaining conscience and morality here.”

Another user hoped the law could shape a better China. @2010GuYue (2010古月) wrote: “The tragedy of Chinese education! I fully support the Good Samaritan law: it is acceptable to not leave your name after doing good deeds, but it is never acceptable to be wrongly accused. We cannot let our future generations think that it is difficult to be a decent person.”

However, not all are in favor of a Good Samaritan law. Some netizens argued the measure could never resolve China’s deeply rooted problem. @QingFengZaiQi (清风再起) lamented: “Broken system, demoralized society, fallen ethics, forgotten faith. No matter how many laws are implemented, it’ll be useless.”

Generally, in our humble opinion, the Good Samaritan Law in Shenzhen is more of a band-aid solution to a much more serious problem.  China has a tendency to solve issues it deems problematic through diktat (Four Pests Campaign, anyone?), but this is a complex (and dark) problem with deep roots.  Quite simply, we’re not sure what’s a worse offense: ignoring somebody clearly in dire need of help, or taking advantage of a kind-hearted person who took a risk to help somebody else.  There is a certain level of moral decay here which, while the Good Samaritan Law is helpful, will not be solved through legislation.

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