By Angela Ye
Residents of Shenzhen can let out a sigh of relief and help people on the streets without the fear that the person they’re helping is going to turn around and sue their rescuer. In light of the recent Yueyue debacle, Shenzhen has drafted China’s first Good Samaritan Law to encourage the general public to help those in need.
The objective of the Good Samaritan law is to free Good Samaritans from any sort of legal responsibility resulting from their actions, who will also be offered legal aid if they are sued. Those who falsely accuse their helper will face legal consequences ranging from a public apology to fines and even detention.
The law states that if an accident victim wants to sue their rescuer, the victim will be solely responsible for providing evidence that their Good Samaritan indeed committed wrongdoing.
In several cases in years past, courts have demanded that the helper prove their innocence, instead of the accuser providing evidence.
In 2006, a young man aided an elderly woman who had fallen down and then took her to the hospital, which resulted in the old lady then accusing her rescuer of knocking her down.
When the case went to court, he was forced to pay over 40,000RMB for her medical expenses as a result of his act of kindness.
Cases like this are rampant throughout China, and aren’t always intentional. Often times those who have fallen down are confused and blame the people who help them, which is why protecting those helpers is so important. Many do argue however, that it is unfair to essentially relieve the rescuer of all blame.
Either way, this is but the first step to fixing the thinking that helping those in an emergency may result in fines, and a small measure to erase some of the doubt that plague the minds of possible Good Samaritans.