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Two-year-old Wang Yue being treated in hospital after she was run over by two vehicles last week.
Two-year-old Wang Yue being treated in hospital after she was run over by two vehicles last week.
Image: Zeng qiang/AP/Press Association Images

Young Chinese girl struck by van and ignored by passers-by dies

The incident has sparked calls for better legal protection of good Samaritans as fear of litigation may have deterred some passers-by from helping the injured child.
Oct 21st 2011, 11:02 AM 7,323 87

A TWO-YEAR-OLD girl has died as a result of serious injuries sustained when she was struck and ran over by two vehicles in a Chinese street last week.

Footage of the incident shows over a dozen people passing by the injured child after she is hit by the first van and ignoring her. Others pause briefly to look at the girl before moving on. A second vehicle ran over her as she lay in the street.

Eventually, a woman scavenging through rubbish nearby pulled the child to safety by the side of the road.

The incident has caused outrage in China, where people using social networking sites called for a major search for the people who passed by and did not offer help.

Here is CCTV footage of the incident as shown in a Chinese news report (Warning: Video contains graphic content):

The intensive care unit director at Guangzhou Military District General Hospital said the child, called Wang Yue, died in the early hours of this morning as a result of brain and organ failure.

The two drivers of the vehicles which struck her have been arrested, but it is not clear if they will face manslaughter charges. Some of the people who passed the child without stopping say they did not see her lying in the street.

The incident has also sparked discussion on public morals and what responsibility passers-by have in such a situation. Li Xiangping, a professor of religion at Huadong University, posted a message online saying it is easy to blame others for the incident: “What after all prompted such a sad phenomenon? Officials? The rich? Or is it our own cold-heartedness?”

Many of the comments posted on this issue to social media sites in China have said: “We are all passers-by”.

However, legal liability may be one factor in discouraging would-be good Samaritans from offering a helping hand.

Xinhua reports that a bus driver in Shanghai faces serious financial penalties and police charges after he helped an elderly woman after she fell down. Her family has claimed he was responsible for her fall.

Reports of the two incidents, which occurred within days of one another, have prompted calls for better legal protections for good Samaritans to protect them from prosecution and compensation claims.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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Susan Ryan

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