Yue Yue: A Modern Tragedy In Four Acts
Act IV: In Which The Driver Is Sentenced To Three And A Half Years In Jail
On Wednesday, the Nanhai District People’s Court in Foshan, Guangdong province convicted Hu Jun of involuntary homicide and sentenced him to three and a half years in jail. According to Xinhua, “The court said it also issued a lenient sentence because Hu gave himself up to police and paid part of the victim’s medical expenses.”
According to Xinhua, he pled guilty to traffic crimes but not homicide. His trial began on May 25.
Act III: In Which An Elderly Scrap Peddler Is Rewarded
Chen Xianmei, 57, would have been the 19th person to walk by the fallen girl in the hardware market. She sets down her scavenged wares, stands over the child, and looks around. Then she carefully moves Yue Yue’s body to the side of the road and calls for help.
Chen is given 10,000 yuan by each of two governmental offices. She is given 50,000 yuan by the owner of an IT company. She is given 5,000 yuan by a Party member. Yue Yue’s family kowtows to her. And then she is accused by the public of seeking fame.
“A lot of people are now saying that I’m doing it to get famous, and to get money. Even my neighbours are now saying so!” she tells Nanfang Daily, as translated by Shanghaiist. “That really wasn’t my intention, and I’m so afraid of hearing what people are saying that I don’t dare to watch the news. I’m not out for fame or money.”
Act II: In Which A Nation Expresses Shock, Anger
Over the course of seven minutes, 18 people walk or cycle by the bleeding girl and do nothing.
“(I swear to the God) If I had seen the girl, I would die in your face,” says one.
“I wanted to lift her, but there was so much blood. I was scared,” a woman surnamed Lin says. She claims to feel “regretful, compassionate, painful at heart and guilty.”
People blame education. They blame the “immoral modern society.” They blame the driver, of course, and the 18. “We should look into the ugliness in ourselves with a dagger of conscience and bite the soul-searching bullet,” says a government official at a provincial meeting.
People blame the “Nanjing judge,” meaning the Peng Yu case.
According to reports the van driver had just split up from his girlfriend and was talking on his mobile phone when he hit the girl.
“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,” said the driver over the phone to the media, before he gave himself up to the police.
“We are all passersby,” comments one netizen, then two, then countless more, until the message sits like a rock in our collective gut like guilt.
Act I: In Which A Two-Year-Old Child Is Run Over Twice And, Dying On the Street, Is Ignored By Eighteen Passersby
On October 13, 2011, Hu Jun’s minibus collides into two-year-old Wang Yue. With her body underneath the van’s back wheel, Hu drives forward. He won’t be heard from until 10 days later, when he turns himself in around the time that the driver of a second vehicle that runs over Yue Yue is arrested.
The mother, who had gone to pick up laundry, rushes to pick up her prone daughter, who will be transferred to the General Hospital of the Guangzhou Military Command of the People’s Liberation Army in Guangzhou later that day and eventually given a best-case prognosis of permanent vegetative state. Yue Yue will be dead within eight days. The tears will come later, as will the revelations that shake a nation to its soul. But for now there is just a mother and her child, and moments between them that have yet to happen.