The news that the two-year old Chinese girl Yueyue died after a hit-and-run accident shocked me but more unbelievable was the indifference of the 18 passersby. Ironically, it’s also not difficult for most of us (Chinese) to understand that the passersby were not to blame as they’re good people in the end but are constrained by and afraid of the very likely extortion if a helping hand is given. It isn’t an excuse but a cruel fact that we all feel sad about but helpless. It’s just one of the chronic side-effects of the fast changing society of China. The whole society is sick. Yet the old prescriptions seemed to have been abandoned on streets.
From primary school, we have been taught about ‘Ren’ (benevolence), the essence of the philosophy of Confucius and the spirit of Leifeng, a role model of morality since Mao’s era in China. Sadly they’re merely theories, differentiated from what we were advised by our parents and friends realistically – “You won’t get trouble if you ignore them, but you will if you try to help because they will bite you back.” There were many cases in which some good-hearted were sued and extorted by the people they helped. Fear of being involved in any kind of troubles and damaging their own interest, people become suspicious on everything and every person. Even so, people won’t admit that they’ve lost their morality or sympathy but may simply give one simple reason – “this is our society.”
As one of the critics said, “Morality has no form, but the form of the container it is in.” Morality changes, either improves or retrogresses, in different eras, under different regimes, and even in different regions. In today’s China, the gaps between rich and poor, cities and countryside, west part and east part, are more obvious, triggering the unbalance of the population in coastal cities and the wrong value that only money counts. Whatever they do, the first thing people would consider is their own interest and the most importantly money. There is no place for morality. The government has no excuses to push away the responsibility for all these problematic ideology and actions. The economy is not boosted by exportation but the hands of all these normal suffering people. The country should slow down it’s hurry pace to pursue GDP, a figure that blinds people and take a look at the country itself. More investment should be placed in people’s welfare and infrastructure. More reform should be done in the education system. They are all essentials in this big container. Otherwise, it will be rotten like a can of vegetables.
I wouldn’t want to see such a society. I wish the journalist career I’m pursuing would give me some power to take on the responsibility same as in the western world, thus I hope it will somewhat warm up the cold hearts again.