After a university student saved the lives of two children before drowning, the mother of one of the children coached them to lie about the incident, claiming that the student drowned of his own accord.
According to a report by the Henan Business Daily, carried by Xinhua News Agency, the mother in question had taken three children down to the nearby lake to play, but because the guardrail around the lake was loose, two of the children fell into the water. Upon hearing cries for help, Meng Ruipeng ran over and helped the two children to safety before drowning. Fearing legal responsibility for the death, she told the children to lie about what happened and say that Meng accidentally fell into the water.
The story of a university student drowning after saving the lives of two children had been making rounds on the internet, with many Chinese people commenting on his heroism. At the same time, conflicting reports emerged that the student in question had not saved children from drowning but in fact had accidentally fallen into the water and drowned himself. Several other confusing accounts of the incident later emerged, with the children in question stating that all three of them had initially fallen into the water together.
The truth surfaced after questions were raised as to why Meng’s mobile phone and clothes were placed neatly in a pavilion near the lake if he had accidentally fallen in, with one of the parents of the rescued children, presumably with a straight face, explaining that he had removed his clothes because he felt hot.
Yesterday morning the mother brought the two children to Meng’s wake and grovelled before his family and friends. A post on Weibo Henan said that she also brought along 10,000 yuan as way of amends, but this was rejected by Meng’s family, with his father stating that: “I don’t want money, I’ve said right from the start I don’t want any compensation from her, I just want justice for my son.”
Chinese netizens were quick to take to the internet and comment on the situation, with a NetEase user from Tianjin ranting: “Really fucking disappointing. What kind of parent is this? Afraid of liability. In this society of China’s, whenever something bad happens, from top to bottom everyone fears being held liable”. Another user logging in from the UK warned: “What’s the point of trying to save someone? You’re just asking for trouble.”
Last October a high school student also in Henan province saved the lives of three children who had fallen into a lake before tragically drowning himself. Presumably the parents were on this occasion were more grateful for the selfless act of heroism.
By Dominic Jackson
[Images via Sina Henan // NetEase]