An actually good story from Xinhua: On November 2, a 17-year-old high school student in Yangzhou, Jiangsu province named Xu Lihan was biking to school when he collided with a parked BMW, breaking a rearview mirror and causing paint damage. Xu waited for the owner to return, but when no one showed up, he scribbled a note with his contact information, saying, “I’m sorry that I can’t give you compensation right now.”
We’ll let Xinhua tell it from here:
“There was nothing extraordinary. I caused trouble, so I should shoulder my obligations,” Xu said.
But his act amazed the owner of the car, a man surnamed Ling.
Ling said he found the boy as he was about to leave.
Ling’s friend immediately grabbed the teenager, as they suspected he was fleeing the scene of the damage, and prepared themselves for a fierce argument.
“But the boy did not defend himself. Instead, he kept apologizing. Then we spotted the note and fell silent,” Ling said.
Impressed by Xu’s act of honesty, Ling told the student he did not need to pay for the damage.
Ling added, “If such virtues are common among the next generation, I believe that society still has hope.”
The story was told by Ling on Sina Weibo. Journalists tracked down both Ling and Xu, giving the kid 15 minutes of fame, all for performing such a small act of responsibility (not even kindness, mind you). But good on the kid, and Ling.
“Thank you, child, for purifying the minds of adults who have been contaminated in this filthy world,” Ling wrote.
TV news story:
Learn from Comrade Xu Lihan.
This Lei Feng is better, we have photographic evidence!
The thing is if this was a news story in England for example, it would probably be in The Daily Mail. And the story would more likely just be a photo with a couple of paragraphs underneath. The kind of ‘feel good’ filler that many news outlet use.
But I can’t help but think (and call me cynical here if you wish) that this is an attempt by the Chinese media to show that Chinese peoples morals/ethics are in place. I am in no doubt that this story may well be perfectly true. But it’s the use of it that I find questionable.
It’s like a vain plea of ‘Look! You see? We are a good society’.
Good on the kid for doing this, but I just kind of thing yeeeeaah so what?
That’s part of the point of this post, no? To show us some of the differences in how foreigners and how Chinese act in certain situations. The boy’s actions would be considered expected or normal elsewhere in the world (so we don’t praise it), but in China it’s NOT, so when it does happen, it’s praised?
I don’t think these actions would so much be expected in England. A story would be made of it as a gentle reminder that good kids do actually exist amongst all the chavvy offspring in England, but with this Chinese story there is an air of desperation about it.