Good Samaritan guidelines drafted in a China province aim to make it easier for bystanders to come to the aid of the distressed, the China Daily reports.
The rules are expected to encourage citizens who are inclined to assist people in need and stifle fears of litigation. Public opinions were being solicited Tuesday in the Shenzhen special economic zone in China‚Äôs Guangdong province, the paper said.
‚ÄúFinally, we are reassured to help others without taking a picture or shooting a video to record the scene first,‚ÄĚ a public servant surnamed Hu was quoted as saying.
The state-sponsored initiative comes one month after a Guangdong toddler died in a double hit-and-run accident in which 18 people passed by her and did not stop to help.
The seeming apathy of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers who saw 2-year-old Wang Yue motionless in the street for 10 minutes shocked the nation.
The girl, nicknamed Yueyue, was finally moved to safety by Chen Xianmei, a 58-year-old woman who collects trash for a living. She reportedly faced threats and ridicule from people saying that she only saved the girl to garner national attention.
But the incident, captured on video by a security camera and posted online, spawned outrage and debate across the world while prompting widespread soul-searching in China about the state of the nation's morality.
The newly drafted regulations, originally reported in¬†the Guangzhou Daily,¬†state that Good Samaritans generally won‚Äôt be liable for unfortunate consequences that result from their actions except in cases of gross negligence. If the distressed try to hold those who came to their aid accountable for injuries or damages or falsely accuse them, the claimants can face fines and detainment.
Witnesses who can testify in favor of Good Samaritans are eligible for reward from a local public security fund, the paper reported.
"I am very happy that this regulation has come out. People have been hoping for it for a long time," said Professor Tan Fang of South¬†China¬†Normal University, according to the Guardian newspaper.
"I hope Shenzhen can strictly enforce the regulation. I also hope the regulation will be adopted by more provinces and become a national law."
Meanwhile, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency launched a poll Wednesday allowing readers to vote for 2011's most touching good deeds.