Toddler in China hit by 2 vehicles, then ignored, dies

AP/AP - In this photo taken Tuesday Oct. 18, 2011, journalists surround the unidentified parents of a two-year-old girl identified as Wang Yue in a hospital in Guangzhou in south China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo)

BEIJING — A 2-year-old girl who was run over by two vehicles and left lying in the street ignored by bystanders died early Friday morning in a Guangdong hospital, Chinese media reported. She had been in a coma since the incident one week ago.

The plight of the little girl, identified as Xiao Yueyue, ignited an intense round of public soul-searching here on why so many people — 18, according to surveillance video of the scene — could pass by an injured, bleeding toddler in the road without offering to help. Some of the passersby had to steer their motorcycles around her body.

(AP) - A nurse took care of a 2-year-old Yueyue in a hospital in Guangzhou, China, before she died. The incident, in which she was struck twice by vehicles and then ignored by passersby, is sparking outrage in China and prompting soul-searching over why people didn’t help the child.

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The girl was finally pulled to the side of the road by a old woman who was scavenging through garbage.

In Internet chat rooms and newspaper opinion pages, many Chinese — from academics to ordinary citizens — began questions whether in the quest to get rich, China had lost its moral compass.

Some blamed a past series of incidents in which people who stopped to help elderly strangers who had fallen found themselves accused of wrongdoing and ordered to pay compensation. Others pointed to a pattern of corruption and sense of impunity by top Communist Party and government officials that has made the general population more uncaring and self-centered.

The case of the 2-year-old girl prompted local government authorities in Guangdong province to consider whether a law is needed to protect “Good Samaritans” who offer assistance to those in need. The China Daily newspaper reported the Guangdong Communist Party’s legislative affairs committee this week posted a notice on its “weibo” microblogging site asking for public advice on shaping a new law.

“Please stop the coldness,” the posting said. “Guangdong province is going to hold a discussion to criticize the behavior of leaving people in mortal danger out of indifference, and to advocate the spirit of lending a hand to those in need of help.” One newspaper said the province was considering establishing a reward, the equivalent of $78,000, for people who risk their lives to save others.

On Friday, the government-controlled media began a counter-offensive against the bad publicity from the story of Yueyue, with major papers running stories about kind-hearted bystanders who have helped save people from traffic accidents. One case involved a 20-month-old boy named Xiaojie who was hit by a car but quickly pulled to safety by “kind-hearted” bystanders — coincidentally, perhaps, in Foshan, the same city where Yueyue was hit and left to die. Xiaojie suffered only a broken leg, media reported.

“Rescues show caring nature of passers-by,” was the headline on the story in Friday’s China Daily newspaper. The Global Times headline on the same story was: “Foshan has another near miss with child.”

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