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Explaining Chinese kindness and reserve : Nanjing Peng Yu

I have lived in China for a little while and many times came to a brick wall in trying to understand Chinese reluctance to help out or step in to help people in times of difficulties. By chance I came across the following piece which kind of helps many of us overseas visitors understand the dynamics of what goes on and behind the mask of many


Nanjing Peng Yu refers to a 2006 case in Nanjing. On the morning of November 20th, 65-year-old woman Xu Shoulan had fallen and injured herself at a bus stop. A man, Peng Yu, helped her up and then, after her requests, took her to the hospital. The old woman then blamed him and claimed that he had run into her. Peng Yu resolutely denied this. The old woman sued him. After four trials, a Nanjing judge ruled that since he admitted to being the first person to get off the bus, and in accordance with common sense, there was a greater probability that he had run into the old woman, and so he was ordered to compensate her over 45,000 RMB. This was a very famous case, often to explain why many people are reluctant to help others.

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And before 2006?


Ahem, what would explain the same behaviour prior to 06? (then)

Sounds to me folks are hiding behind this case or simply using it as an excuse to justify their inaction.(now)

yeah....but..i think it goes farther than nanjing..


Its the simple fact that time+quantity+responsibility= mafan!


its known as the genovese effect in the states...


people think someone else will hepl..and that they got other things to do than get involved..


shit.. i walk by shit everyday..and i dont expect for better treatment when im in need...


survival of th fittest baby! booyah!


Good comment Gabriel and welcome your views and insights. At the end of the day though we all get old, we all get sick, we all run down, we all need help ( if not for us for our wife having a baby or parents getting sick etc). Todays China ( and much of rest of the world) is totally in consumption mode, greed and knocking the poorer flat on their face. Lets face it ... this cannot be the solution unless the solution is that some 1% of rich people whip the other 99% to be their slaves .... Normal people I think will wake up and realise that this is not a way to live in dignity and respect . Just my two cents :)

i tell you what though i lie..


i wish i was that strong..but i interfere when i feel there is a chance of direct loss of life..for firends peers and family, and in situations i think i can handle by my self...



i once walked by a man beating a woman and chanting all her vices for the whole street to see gambling and cheating oh him being two of them..


there were old ladies obviously family members of the victim all walking and standing around..not just passerbyers....


and if they werent going to do anything neither was i..


i have seen a group of men beat one or two guys on several occasions..what can i do there?


i have stopped petty thieves from stealing peoples either making noise or slapping them


a slap says alot..youd be surprised..


but the fact remains i got kids, im not getting to intense into anything that will fuk me up..


Yeah ..too true Gabriel and get where your coming from and kind of agree even if I dont like too ;) Reminds me of the story recently of a Chinese student coming back from Japan who stabbed his mother 6 times at the airport . His mother just lay on the ground and the young guy ran off. The only person to come to her aid was a foreigner at the airport ..... Man oh man .... Totally F**Ked if you dont mind me saying. After the police caught the student and he said he was upset (after being in Japan studying for 5 years) his parents ( after borrowing all the $$$$ they could for his future)  said they had no more to give to him.... As Shakespeare said  ' How sharper than a serpants tooth to have a thankless child' ... Whats even more amazing is the mother after being stabbed did not blame her sons flight to madness ....... Mixed world indeed we live in :)
The two key words in your positing Peter are 'common sense'. Nothing more need be be said.
Dont get your point KeYan ? In Ireland or in Europe I do believe it would be common sense to step in and help your fellow comrade who is undergoing difficulty. I give you a simple example : My parents who are in their 60's had a flat tire and puncture. It was about to rain. They were a few miles from home and had to stop on the road. A person living by saw the problem of my parents and he with his wife invited my parents into their home - His wife made my parents a cup of tea and he went out and put the spare wheel on. All was done with goodness of heart and common sense. No big gestures ... no big scheme or plans. Simple generosity of spirit. Anyways thats what many foreigners common sense would be overseas. Learning the new rules in the jungle though really ask one to confront ones morals .. I believe Gabriel gives a best explanation to why. Good discussion

I think K was probably suggesting that "common sense" is uncommon. (and therefore so is common courtesy)

I added the last part ;)

Bingo Andrew! The cultural connotations of common sense...
Got ya Andrew or Bingo ( to keep the meanings consistent :) ).  Guess common sense would or could assume people care about others or society as a whole. I guess lots of people dont really care about the masses as long as they in the short run are secure..... Just wonder how long though the grim reepers leaves them and their families alone ....


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