The world is outraged after hearing news that a two-year-old girl was run over in a market in China and no one stopped to help. The child was eventually taken to hospital where she was treated for her injuries, but did not survive.
The toddler, Lulu, wandered into the street in a market. A white van-style truck accelerated, hit and ran over the child with its front wheels. The truck then stopped, pauses for a moment, and continued forward running the child over again with its back wheels. A passerby who witnessed the accident and at least 18 other people, including parents with children, walked right past the injured, bleeding child lying on the ground. A second truck ran over her too. Eventually, about 6 minutes after the accident, a woman stopped, picked up the child and cried out for help. Moments later, the mother arrived and the child was rushed to the hospital. The entire incident can be seen in an uncut video on YouTube (warning: includes graphic footage of the child being run over several times).
Despite the hospital’s efforts, the girl died of brain injury one week after the accident. The Globe and Mail has reported that both drivers who ran over the girl have been arrested. However, people are left asking why so many people walked by without giving the girl a second thought. A lot of soul searching is taking place in China, with people asking themselves how so many could have walked by and ignored the injured girl. According to J. David Goodman’s blog on the New York Times:
Within hours of the accident, Xinhua reported, there were nearly 2 million posts related to the toddler on Sina Weibo, a popular microblog platform similar to Twitter. By the middle of this week, there were nearly 10 million. A horrific video of the accident, contained in a news report, has been viewed 2.8 million times on Youku, the Chinese equivalent of YouTube.
In addition to soul searching, there is also a lot of finger pointing. People inside and outside China are horrified at the lack of empathy shown by the people who ignored the child and there is concern that this incident is reflective of Chinese culture. Some are comparing it to the United States and indicating that Americans’ willingness to help others is what makes them somehow better or stronger than China. However, there are similarly horrifying incidents in the United States too, such as a woman in Ohio who was ordered to stop giving a colleague CPR and get back to work. The woman later died.
Lacking empathy is a disease that is spreading worldwide as people focus on “me, me, me” and go about their busy lives. It is reflected in the way people treat others, in the way they vote, and in the way we’ve retreated away from our communities and retrenched into our nuclear families and independent lives.
Can we recover from this and teach the world to care?
Image credit: YouTube video of incident.