Overheard on CNN.com: Are Americans better 'Good Samaritans'?
Wang Yue, 2, is treated at a hospital in China on Sunday after being hit by two cars. She died Friday.
October 21st, 2011
01:29 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Are Americans better 'Good Samaritans'?

Exchange of the Morning:

"Someone please tell me things are different in the USA."–PointNoted
"Things are quite different here. For one thing, we tend to value human life a lot more."–ShovelingSnw

Chinese toddler dies a week after being hit by cars, ignored by passersby

A Chinese toddler who was hit by two cars and ignored by more than a dozen people before rescue died Friday. The video footage sparked a global outcry about the state of morality in China's fast-changing society. CNN.com readers argued over whether Americans were any better, while some identifying as Chinese or Chinese-American responded.

elfster said, "My heart sank seeing the video in its entirety. The van continued forward upon striking her the first time knowing they ran over a child. It is unthinkable, callous, apathy at its worst. She sustained some serious injuries when the rear wheels rolled over her torso, not to mention the truck that ran over her legs 8 minutes later. To watch passerbys on foot, on motorcycles, and in vehicles look and leave her there is repulsive."

CaitieLady08 said, "I know, I watched it too. Jaw-dropping. I don't understand at all!" Einstein1111 said, "I wonder if this is a general disregard for life in China or if it was the fact that the child was female. It is well known that females are not as 'valuable' in China. I would like to know the thought process on ignoring a severely wounded child in China."

paulbark said, "Lack of bystanders helping is not unique to China. It often happens in the U.S. and elsewhere. Oddly, the more bystanders there are, the less likely someone is to get help from anyone. It's called 'diffusion of responsibility.' " amlesser said, "The 'bystander effect' is a well-documented psychological phenomenon; this has nothing to do with China or human rights."

ken1010 said, "This exact same thing happened in Connecticut where a guy was hit by two cars in broad daylight and people ignored it. Granted, it was an elderly man and not a toddler, but still it shows that we aren't in any position to point fingers as if we have superior moral values."

Some readers said an earlier Chinese court case had made many hesitant to interfere. qdbw said, "This is deeply troubling. As a Chinese, I feel ashamed. However, let me give you some background. There has been multiple instances in China where people who tried to help others who fell on the street were later accused by the injured. In one such instance, the court determined that the person who tried to help must be guilty. Otherwise, he wouldn't have tried to help. He was ordered to pay a large amount to the injured old lady."

CherriH said, " 'Nanjing judge' refers to the infamous 2006 case of a man named Peng Yu who helped a woman to the hospital after she had fallen only to have the old woman accuse him of knocking her down. The Nanjing judge in that case ultimately ruled that common sense dictated that only the person who hit her would take her to the hospital, setting a precedent that continues only further discourages and reinforces many Chinese people's wariness to help others in similar situations.

liuconsis said, "I think in China, we know what is right, but sometimes we dare not to do that, such as criticizing the president, the premier, is that the ting we should do? Sure. But dare we? We dare not, because we are afraid, losing job or even going into jail. That's the main problem, and can we trust our policeman? I think in American are not more upright, but they are more brave. They have a clean government or policeman to trust and rely on, do we have in China? What are the officials doing everyday? We cannot supervise them, because we don't have freedom."

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

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Open Thread

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. saywhat

    It is a little unrealistic to compare the socio-political enviornment of two very different countries. I would tend to agree with what @ liuconsis said in comments posted in the above article.

    October 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    I have seen more than one video on those kind of 'what would you do' type of show.
    They show instances very similar.
    Nobody helped, either.
    Are Americans better "Good Samaritans"?
    Based on what I've seen in these videos, I'd say no.
    I *can* tell you, however, that if either me or my family had witnessed any of these incidents, the outcome would have been very different.

    October 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Portland Tony

    Yeah that's bad...but would it make anyone feel any better if that young girl was four or five and the same thing happened to her. My God, too many unwanted children are abused in this world today. Too many go to sleep hungry, even in America, once the most prosperous and caring nation in the world. Too bad so many people are concerned what happens in a mother's womb, yet turn a blind eye toward the living.

    October 21, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • KayLou

      I agree, I would feel the same even if she was older. I find it ironic that they are so concerned with unborn children and show little care toward the living because they want these unborn fetuses to live because they deserve it and you can go do serious prison time for murdering an unborn...Yet, in cases like Yue Yue, god rest her soul, they are treated like this, as a price tag and people turn the other cheek and continue on with their lives thinking "It's not my problem". In my oppinnion, we should make it our problem because they are human no matter the age, race, culture, etc. and they deserve to be here just as much as you and I. It breaks my heart so bad from what happened to Yue Yue and I browsed the news today in the US to find so many "dead baby found in parking garage" or "Child was not fed for days" or "Missing baby's body found"....How could we even want to live in this awful world with so much hate, how could we wish this for our children. I pray our children make this a better place, I pray this world changes for the best. I hate that people are only contemplating change at the cost of Yue Yue's beautiful life, that is the ONLY thing wrong with China...that it took this to make them see the one thing they should change... 😥

      October 21, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. KayLou

    What everybody is failing to see, is a baby girl died today!! It is not China that cause this, it was the driver and all those other passerbys who did nothing! I live here in America and it appalls me to see people saying "This would never happen in America" because it would, and it has! How dare anybody single out an entire country because of a few people's terrible acts. They are acting purely out of self will, it was their choice to walk around her NOT china's! There are so many people in the world who would defy the laws of their country to save those who need it. There are also those who say the parents should be to blame. Don't you think they already blame themselves? If any of you are parents then you should already know how easily a child can slip away from you with a turn of the head. This is one of those cases, unfortunetly baby Yue Yue didn't make it. SO, instead of complaining you should be praying for Yue Yue and her family and mourning the loss of this little girl who was forced to suffer this awful death. I lay shame on the passerbys and the driver...NOT CHINA!!!

    October 21, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. McHugh

    Every US CEO that does business in China should be forced to watch this video, and then pay reperation to the family of this child.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. PulSamsara

    It's amazing how everyone tries to level the moral playing field. Sorry – this would not be the norm in our society. If you believe that then you have serious moral shortcomings of your own. 99% of all the individuals that I know would frantically help the child in the video. They would not stop to ponder the other people nearby. The would act instantly. It's not some cultural superiority to say this – it's barely holding your own in terms of morality. This situation – a child in desperate need – a baseline measurement of humanity – and the folks in the video failed miserably. I hope that's not an accurate measure of Chinese society as a whole.

    October 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MattNY

    re: Kaylou "They are acting purely out of self will, it was their choice to walk around her NOT china's"

    Actually, I think the ironic thing is that the people walking around the girl were under greater influence of China (the backwards government) rather than their personal values or morals.

    These passerbys are not so much an instance of a few bad apples in a good society, but rather – they are representative of a society whose people are well-intentioned, but are forced into acting against their will, out of fear of their government

    October 21, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. s kel

    From my line of work I did,( first responder/firefighter) I have seen people on the street do a lot of good things for a stranger in the street. So people in this country from what I seen people are better good sameritans.

    October 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joe

    The ignorance of Americans is astounding. Americans don't value human lives more, unless said lives are white.

    October 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • PulSamsara

      As Joe embraced this mediocrity and skirts the issue with his own racist rant – he shows that he is also part of the problem.

      October 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. chrissy

    this is an extremely heartwrenching story! i cant even imagine this happening here but, what im curious about was why was this child in the road in the first place and WHERE was the parents?

    October 21, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • OldGirl

      Chrissy, good thought! Why isn't anyone talking about the parents?

      October 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. fernace

    After reading some of the comment from Chinese individuals, I understand that their system is different & people do as they are taught! I want to know why the child was unsupervised on the street in the 1st place? Where was her mother? We all know how quickly a toddler can run off & how you have to keep an eye on them at all times, especially in an area that poses dangers, such as a busy street! The poor baby never had a chance after being run over the 1st time, but did the mom just stand around & watch like the rest of the apathetic crew? As far as the "us v. them" question, I've heard of people being ra.p.ed, mugged or passed out on the street in full daylight & in front of passersby & no1 stepped in to help! Those incidents occured in large cities, where it was speculated that people are more reluctant to help a stranger! It's probably a human reaction rather than ethnic!!

    October 21, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. fernace

    Thanks chrissy for posing the question that most needs an answer! Great minds think alike, ya know!!

    October 21, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    From what I understand, both parents were working nearby and the child wandered away from them unnoticed.

    @fernace:
    I would like to believe that we are better than that, but sadly, humans will be humans.

    @Joe:
    A blanket, ridiculous statement, and you know it.

    @s kel: thanks you for *being* a first responder.
    I'm sure you've seen the bad, also, though.

    October 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. THE ONE AND ONLY DRAKOREX1

    ANYBODY WITH HALF A BRAIN AND AN OUNCE OF CONTIENCE WOULD OUT OF COMMON SENCE HELPED THAT LITTLE GIRL, CHINA NEEDS A LESSON IN MANNERS IN SO MANY WAYS!

    October 21, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. s kel

    Your welcome my friend Bansay, crissy how are you?

    October 21, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
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