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To help or not to help?

Updated: 2011-08-26 15:13


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To help or not to help? 

Xu Yunhe (C) was seen outside the Tianjin No. 1 Intermediate People's Court after the trial on Monday, August 22, 2011.

To help or not to help?

Wang Xiuzhi emerged in a wheelchair from Tianjin No. 1 Intermediate People's Court on Monday afternoon, August 22, 2011.

The case of a 69-year-old woman who sued a young man for knocking her down with his car has rekindled public debate on morality and credibility. The trial is still in progress, but an overwhelming majority of people are showing their support for the man for his benevolence and believe the woman is twisting facts. They also express their unwillingness to offer help to those in need in the future, as society is seething in anger and helplessness over moral decline and credibility loss.

Wang Xiuzhi, while illegally crossing the median along a road, fell and suffered multiple bone fractures in October 2009 in the northern city of Tianjin. Xu Yunhe stopped his car and got out to help her up, according to Xu. But Wang said Xu knocked her down with his car, causing the injuries.

To help or not to help?

Xu illustrated the scene with the above picture.  

To help or not to help?

Xu's car broke into the guardrail at the scene.

Without any surveillance video and witnesses, Xu was convicted and assigned 40 percent responsibility for the accident, even though the court never determined that he hit Wang. He was ordered to pay over 100,000 yuan ($15,632) in compensation to Wang, according to the original judgment handed down by a district court in June. Xu appealed the ruling, insisting he was innocent.

The case reminded many people of a similar incident in Nanjing in 2007, when a young man, Peng Yu, said he helped a fallen old woman get up. But the old woman insisted that it was Peng who knocked her down and sued him for compensation. Lacking solid evidence, the court in Nanjing ruled that Peng shoulder 40 percent responsibility for the incident, and under great public pressure, the case resulted in a compromise of 10,000 yuan fine for Peng.

In the aftermath of these cases, many people said that for fear of being sued, they would be more likely to stand by if they were on the scene. When an old man fell off a bus in Shanghai, no passerby went to lend him a hand until he shouted, "I will blame nobody for my fall."

To help or not to help? 

@Zongmagaoge2010, Sina micro blogger

My values cannot be changed by one or two extreme cases. If help is needed, I will not hesitate, even if it means being framed, because my helping hand is for my conscience and for those who suffer. However, I understand those kind-hearted people who doubt whether their benevolence is worthy and I respect their choices.

To help or not to help? 

@Shunjiandeguangmanhenwunai, Sina micro blogger 

The "Peng Yu Case" in Nanjing resulted in an overall regression of China's social ethics, and we can predict that the similar case in Tianjin will make it worse. What is wrong with Chinese judges?

To help or not to help?

Li Qianfan

commentator on current affairs


The judgment, which blames all the parties, may not be able to win people's hearts.

 To help or not to help?

Mao Jianguo

commentator on current affairs

Now that both parties presented different stories without sound evidence, we don't know who lied, which makes it too early to discuss the ethical matter.

 To help or not to help?

@tlx1, Sina micro blogger

Being a "professional scammer" is a lot easier these days. They don't have to hit the car, because they just need to fall down when a car is approaching…Judges of Nanjing and Tianjin told us that it is unwise to help others and let it be when seeing somebody fall. Before you pull up any old person who falls, make sure you have 100,000 at hand…Driving is not your fault, but terrifying by driving is.

To help or not to help?

@Zhou Xing, professor at College of Art and Communication, Beijng Normal University

Social ethics gets out of hand once and again. Even old people are not ashamed to frame others. Even judicial authorities give up their criteria and settle for less. Judges share the ridiculous logic of "no wrongdoing, no help." A danger in helping others is recognized by more and more people. Indifference prevails in the whole society.


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