By Benjamin Cost
Yesterday in Chengdu, a woman in red dove off a bridge right into the path of speeding vehicles, whose apathetic drivers then appeared none too willing to lend a hand.
This latest case of Chinese citizens displaying a complete indifference towards others in public situations of need is part of a chilling trend, recently highlighted by the Yueyue incident, and does not appear to be letting up anytime soon.
As the clip reveals, the jumper lands on the road in front of an orange car, which brakes, stalls for several seconds, and then merges into the left lane and motors off, leaving the woman prone in the middle of a busy four-lane highway.
Even when traffic nearly comes to a standstill, drivers continue to nonchalantly chug by in a shockingly passive scene reminiscent of zoo trams passing a dull exhibit. Fortunately, the cameraman (seemingly the only driver sympathetic to the woman’s plight) dialed emergency number 110 to report the incident.
However, while calling it in, he drives off, leaving the woman to weakly flail her arm in the air.
The video, which was posted yesterday afternoon on Chengdu QQ forums, allegedly amassed over 24 pages of comments in fewer than 24 hours. Many of the following posts might provide insight into the attitude that drives this consistent civilian unwillingness to help those in trouble.
“If you want to jump, find a higher place to jump from. Doing it this way you don’t die, you just slow down the traffic.”
“Probably they were all rushing to work, and besides, what good is getting out of the car going to do? Unless you’re a doctor or know how to do first aid.”
“If you want to die, you can’t get other people involved in it.”
To the relief of many, other posts displayed some semblance of a conscience:
“Why is everybody rushing by and nobody gets out of their car to make sure she’s OK?”
“What are you doing just reporting it to the police and not getting out to help?”
“You guys, take a look at this video bearing in mind the Guangdong incident with little Yueyue. I think that the sad thing is not the person who jumped but society itself—so many people who didn’t even stop for a moment to get out of their cars to help.”
If the national trend of apathy towards people in dire need is going to be reversed, more of these sympathetic voices need to be heard. Until these incidences of coldblooded self-interest stop occurring, Chinese mainlanders will gradually attain a world reputation for overt heartlessness, if it hasn’t happened already.