Beijing subway commuters made headlines yesterday, not for failing to wear any pants or for trying to rip each other’s clothes off, but instead for showing some quick compassion to someone in need.
At around 9 a.m., inside the Taiyanggong Station on Line 10, a foreign man suddenly passed out and fell to the ground. Within moments, fellow commuters were rushing over to see if he was ok and what they could do to help.
One man took off his jacket and offered it as a cushion, a woman quickly called emergency services and another older lady knelt down to press on the foreigner’s acupuncture points to help him wake up.
Medical workers arrived within five minutes, but by that time the man was feeling much better.
At first glance this would seem like a simple story of human kindness; however, netizens can’t help but looking deeper and tying it in with flaws in Chinese society. More than 38,000 users have commented on the story on NetEase with many lamenting that if a Chinese commuter had passed out, he may have been left on the floor to fend for himself.
“It that had been a fellow countryman who fainted, then people would think it was an attempt at extortion, but there’s nothing that can be done, public morals are getting worse and worse,” reads the top comment with nearly 5,000 likes.
“If a Chinese person had fainted, each and every person would just go far away and hide. Why try to save foreigners? Because they have money, people want to be there just in case they pull out a thousand dollars to express their gratitude,” another netizen argued.
To which another web user responded, “It’s because they haven’t learned how to blackmail yet.”
With a stream of high-profile stories starring kind-hearted people getting blackmailed for simply trying to help out, Chinese people have become increasingly suspicious of strangers in need, opting to snap some evidence before rushing in to help.
The problem has attracted serious attention and frustration across the country with local governments stepping in recently to roll out laws to help protect good Samaritans from swindlers.