Chinese girl dies in hit and run that sparked outrage

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 21, 2011 1:14 AM

BEIJING (Reuters) - A two-year-old Chinese girl run over by two different vehicles and ignored by passersby has died, state media reported Friday, in a case which ignited public uproar over what some called the immorality of modern society.

The hospital's "all-out efforts were ineffective" at saving Wang Yue, the China News Service said. Xinhua news agency added that she died of brain failure early Friday more than a week after the accident.

Both drivers who ran over the girl have been arrested, but Internet users have flooded microblogs decrying the apathy of the people who left her for dead, after graphic footage from a security camera of the incident went viral.

The surveillance video from the October 13 hit-and-run, aired by a television station, shows the girl run over by a van, which drives off leaving her to bleed on a narrow street in Foshan city in the southern province of Guangdong.

More than a dozen people over the next seven minutes walk or drive past the girl on bicycles and she is run over by a second truck. A woman then pulls the girl to the side of the street before her mother, a migrant worker in the city, rushes into the frame.

China's economic boom and the growing disparity between the rich and poor have made changing social values a contentious topic, with some lamenting what they see as materialism replacing morals.

Wang's death quickly became the most talked about topic on China's popular Twitter-like microblog service, Sina's Weibo.

"I hope that this little angel who was discarded by society can act as a wake-up call to the nation about the importance of moral education," wrote one blogger, "gongzai xiaoben."

"Hope you can find some love in heaven. This world is full of apathy," added "Winter space."

Xinhua said her father had received more than 270,000 yuan ($42,280) to help pay for Wang's medical treatment, with donations flowing in from Chinese people all over the world.

The Communist Party chief of Guangdong province urged "searching reflection" on the incident, the official Guangzhou Daily reported Friday.

"Take active and effective steps to raise the moral standards of the entire society," he told a meeting of province officials, according to the paper.

"We should look into the ugliness in ourselves with a dagger of conscience and bite the soul-searching bullet," Wang also said, Xinhua reported separately.

Many people in China are hesitant to help people who appear to be in distress for fear that they will be blamed. High-profile lawsuits have ended with good Samaritans ordered to pay hefty fines to individuals they sought to help.

($1 = 6.386 yuan)

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard, Chris Buckley and Sabrina Mao; Editing by Robert Birsel)