Little Wang Yue, nicknamed Yue Yue, died today. >>Here<< is the BBC report.
You've probably read the articles, maybe you even watched the footage, but after wandering out into an alleyway near her family's hardware store, Yue Yue was run over by two vehicles that kept on driving. Her plight was then ignored by at least eighteen passersby. The whole incident was captured on a security camera.
I haven't watched the video. Can't stomach it. The reports are disturbing enough. I've been told by people who did watch the video that it gave them nightmares.
It's horrifying to look the dark side of human nature in the face. This sickening display of human selfishness at its worst makes us ask questions, at least.
How did this happen?
What were those bystanders thinking?
I would react differently, wouldn't I?
To understand "those bystanders'" thought-processes demands knowing something about Chinese culture. I don't claim to be an absolute authority, but I did live in China for eight years. Those were wonderful years and I met amazing, big-hearted people in my time there, people who would have helped Yue Yue in a heartbeat. I know not every Chinese person would have behaved like the people in the video did.
Still, I wasn't completely surprised by this story. I've been trying to wrap my mind around why it horrified me, but didn't surprise me.
Do I think Chinese people are heartless? No.
Do I think they're afraid? Yes.
Afraid of losing everything they've worked so hard for.
Afraid that if they help, they'll have to face false accusations and will lose "face," as well as money.
It's hard for westerners to understand how important the concept of Face is to a Chinese person. Face is everything.
And in recent years, money runs a close second to Face.
There have been several well-publicized instances in China where a "hero" was later accused of causing the accident. >>This article<< addresses one of these instances.
If we dig just a little into Chinese history, I think we find at least one culprit: the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Brother turned against brother, wife against husband. No one could be trusted, not even a person's own family members. You always worried someone might turn you in to the authorities on a trumped up charge.
The Communists at that time orchestrated that kind of fear to serve its own selfish purposes-- to overthrow the old way and bring in the new. They needed to destroy individual's trust in one another so they would become totally subservient to the government.
Now, all these years later, we still see the consequences of that movement in the new China. The stamp of fear is still on the people. It may take many more generations to completely wear away. Perhaps tragedies like Yue Yue's will encourage people to consider their values, to change their thinking, to reach out to others without fear.
So today ...
Pray for Yue Yue's grieving family.
Pray that this is a wake-up call for this culture, that all of us from every culture will realize we can't let fear stand in the way of doing what's right.
Pray that when we're faced with a big decision like this, we will act compassionately, selflessly, heroically, without taking the time to count the cost.
Rest in peace, sweet baby Yue Yue. Your innocent life's tragedy may become a light for a great nation.