In Tongxiang county, Jiaxing, Zhejiang province recently, a five-year-old boy named Yan Zhe was killed when he wandered in front of a parked bus whose driver did not see him before accelerating. In the video, you see the driver leave his vehicle, realize what he’s done, and then… nothing.
The hysterical mother rushes in and collapses when she discovers what’s happened. The bus driver turns his body from her. She pleads for help — from everyone, anyone – but no one steps forward. She rushes toward a car, but that vehicle backs away, slowly, metaphorical hands in the air as to say, “Not my problem.”
Finally, someone does transport Yan Zhe to the hospital, where he will be pronounced dead.
Chinese media, on cue, have compared this incident to another last year from Foshan, Guangdong province, the infamous, national-conscience-rattling case of Yue Yue, who lay dying on the side of a road while 18 people walked or cycled past. The news anchor in the above asks whether we’ve forgotten her legacy. “Now, can we still see those inner scars? Can we remember the pain and anguish from that time? Granted, it was an unavoidable accident, but that doesn’t make it an acceptable excuse for those who backed away. Child’s parents are responsible, driver is responsible, everyone who witnessed it is responsible.”
Last month, people whispered “Yue Yue” as well when a woman on the highway got run over multiple times by cars that wouldn’t slow down. Are we destined for a continual string of these type of stories? Will “Yue Yue” become empty words, if they’re not already?
And to think, just earlier today we saw two stories of Samaritans at work: in one, a Swedish man dove into cold waters to save a drowning woman; in another, this dog. In both, notice how many people just stand around as if watching a spectacle, while someone’s life is in danger. It’s clear the lessons of the past have yet to be internalized by the public at large.