Toddler Run Over in China

Liz De La Torre

Two year-old Xiao Yueyue died the morning of Friday, Oct. 21 at a hospital in the Guangdong providence of China after harrowing footage circulated last week of the toddler being struck by vehicles and left to die. Caught by security cameras, the incident showed the toddler wandering aimlessly along a market street when she was run over by two trucks and left ignored by a total of 18 people until a female sanitation worker, Chen Xianmei, came to her aid seven minutes later. Before she died, Yueyue had been in a coma from the head trauma and her other critical injuries she suffered and was using a ventilator to breathe.

The tragedy has the world buzzing with so many people wondering how a helpless bleeding girl in the street could be overlooked. In fact, many took to newspaper editorials and blogs to express their outrage, criticism, and sentiment over the ignorance of the passerby, the parental supervision of Yueyue, and the public health system in China. On the blogging site,, one user commented “Who is going to clean and collect the scraps of the degenerative morality in our society?” Although people have pointed to China’s apathy and the growing gap between the rich and poor as a reason for the passerby not helping, Liu Shinan, a regular China Daily commentator, said it is not uncommon for passerby to remain idle to avoid responsibility for medical bills, compensation, and any other costs.

After the media frenzy and international outcry from the public, Chinese media began to publish stories of caring bystanders who have helped and saved people. And now, authorities in Guangdong province are discussing the need for a “Good Samaritans” law. Still, others like CNN reporter Eunice Yoon believe it is too late and blame people for not being able to see beyond their own need for social status mobility: “Some observers have been pointing out that China education system really has failed here, that it’s failed to emphasize and reinforce the need to respect human life at a time when 1.3 billion people all clamoring and rushing to climb up the economic and social ladder.”