Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Tribute to Yue Yue

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.


  1. very well said. nice article. r.i.p. yueyue! you will be missed.

  2. I hadn't heard of this before now. It's so heart-wrenching. I hope Yue Yue's family will be able to overcome this.

  3. Amy, well done. I'm with you on the whole shocked, yet not surprised. Thanks for voicing this...really spoke to me today.

  4. This story horrified me. I had a long comment about how things are getting worse in my own country, but I'm tired of it all, so I'll just say RIP little one.

  5. I will pray and I'll click to read more. You've struck something deep w/ in me.
    ~ Wendy

  6. This is an awful, awful tragedy. I really appreciated this post, Amy, because I wanted to understand it a little better from the Chinese perspective. I never would have guessed that a Good Samaritan in China risks so much to help someone. That's certainly not the case here, and it does make me wonder, "What would I have done if I were facing the same societal constraints?"

    My husband hadn't heard of this story, and when I told him about it last night, he asked why it had caused such an international stir. He pointed out that hit-and-run accidents probably happen all the time, in every country in the world. I said I thought this one was different because a security camera just happened to catch the footage. And that made me wonder, "Are we any better than the people in THE HUNGER GAMES, who watch children die for entertainment?"

    Thoughts and prayers with Yue Yue's family.

  7. I have the most precious niece from China. I think it is difficult for us to imagine a government so powerful and frightening that you give up your baby girls--to know that it is your only option. I know those mothers love their babies as much as we do. But as you said, it's the fear of their government that forces them to make heart-wrenching choices. My thoughts are with Yue Yue's family.
    Lisa See does a phenomenal job of depicting modern China in her novels Shanghai Girls and it's sequel Dreams of Joy.

  8. Oh, that is heartbreaking. We will definitely pray for her family.
    I've read a few books about the Chinese Cultural Revolution, but it never fails to horrify me, the things that happened and are still happening because of it.
    That said, there are plenty of instances in Western culture of things like this happening, because of other sorts of fear. It makes you really appreciate how much courage the people who DO stop and do something have!

  9. Love drives out fear. Where is the love? This makes my heart hurt.

    Amy, thank you for helping me to understand this tragedy. China has a lot to recover from, that is for sure, and once the govt. begins to value life again, I have to believe things will change for the better. India has some of the same problems, I might add.

    I will add my prayers.

  10. My niece is of the same age, and if someone really helped her out when she was in trouble, I will kneel down and thank that person as well. I am totally heartbroken. Being Chinese Singaporean I'm ashamed but hopeful at the same time. We Chinese are not all bad...thank you for the great article. Let's pray for Yueyue and her family.

  11. Thank you for helping me to understand the Chinese perspective a little better. This story made me cry. In America, we have a law that protects Good Samaritans. I learned about it when I took a CPR class. It sounds like China needs something similar, unless they really want their people to live with that kind of fear and shame.

  12. Thanks for posting your tribute, Amy. It's beautiful. And your knowledge of the Chinese culture helps the rest of us come to some small level of understanding of how this happened.
    I did watch the video but I couldn't watch the whole thing. It was more than I could take. I remember how hard it was for me to first learn the term "gendercide" and what it entails. It kept me awake at night. This did too.
    I hope and pray, like you, that Yue Yue's tragedy reaches enough eyes that it changes the value (or lack of) that some cultures place on human life.

  13. This is awful. Thanks Amy for bringing it to my attention, I hadn't heard of it (I don't watch tv and the radio station I listen to didn't have it).
    Myrna says everything I want to say.
    Love and light to Yue Yue's family. Poor little mite, may she rest in peace.

  14. Gosh, what a heartbreaking article. I hadn't heard about Yue Yue before now. I will pray for her family and for the people who were not brave enough to help her.

  15. Oh Amy, this is heartbreaking. I didn't watch it but I read the link. Thanks for giving a such a sweet and thought-provoking tribute.


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