Death of toddler proves morally dangerous for China

It seems strange to me to regard with such familiarity and sudden protectiveness this little girl sitting next to me in the library. She’s reading a chapter book. I can’t discern the title. She’s polishing off a cheese and cracker snack combo, the kind that comes with the red plastic stick to spread the cheese ever so carefully on the flat, buttery biscuit.

And here I sit, attempting to type my response to what people are calling the instigation of a moral crisis in China, the death of Yue Yue Wang. The toddler was run over by a white van, and was left there to bleed. It’s a terrible crime to ignore a helpless, injured individual, and even more so when it’s a toddler there, lying crushed on the street.

A terrible crime, isn’t it? Irrefutably. Yet one still committed by 18 civilians, no less, without a single one pausing to provide aid, not even to drag the girl’s body out of the way of a second oncoming truck. Only one woman, a trash collector, took the time to do so.

When I first read about this girl, I couldn’t understand why the world hadn’t exploded with outrage on the very day of the horrific event. I could hardly sit through the entire video footage that captured Yue Yue’s plight. I couldn’t bear to think I was distantly related to the people of a country that would allow such a thing to happen. Moral crisis indeed.

The trouble with today’s up-and-coming world powers: economically, they take the cake; socially, not so much. The Chinese have had too much in the way of take-everything-and-anything-in-any-way-you-can development – that is, a development of capitalistic selfishness – as of recent decades. Their moral compass has been severely tampered with, but it’s certainly not beyond repair.

This girl next to me is of some sort of Asian descent. Maybe that familiarity I felt came from her ethnicity, maybe because I used to be a bookworm myself. She’s only a few years older than Yue Yue. I feel it would be the absolute least I could do to stop immediately my activities and offer assistance if she was in any apparent trouble, ever. I don’t know her, and chances are after we leave this place, we’ll never encounter each other again. But this instinct to protect, I feel, is the same sentiment that many, many, many people would feel as well, faced with a dying stranger somewhere.

Considering China’s reputation for desperately craving global respect and quick efficiency in reform, I have high hopes that an instinctive, selfless response will soon be more evident in more than just 1 of 19 Chinese people.

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