GoKunming Forums

Chinese Human Compassion

debaser (635 posts) • 0

yes, people Are more likely to help in many other countries. However, I recently came off my bike at an intersection (due to a idiot in a car driving on the pavement and me being forced to ride over a poorly paved and slippery surface). i landed on my head and was soon very bloody! i got back to the pavement and sat for a bit in a puddle of blood. at least 3 CHINESE passers by stopped to check if i was ok and to offer to help. Thank you to them. to all those who walked past... including a couple of foreigners... just stop and think that it could be you next time.

the point is that while this issue is more obvious in countries such as China (maybe due to the crowds that form) this behaviour is far from unique to Chinese people.

crazy.laowai (242 posts) • 0

Ok, I first apologize for the tone of my original post. I was worked up and upset because of the accident I saw. I will try to be more rational.

Ok so yes, I understand that argument that getting involved could end up costing you money. I guess my point is that, in my worldview, human life and helping dying people is more important than money. I assumed most people felt that way, but I guess I was wrong.

And, I am not saying I want to government to make laws about this per se. I just wish more people were more concerned about the welfare of others.

Thanks for listening to my rant.

The Dudeson's (1106 posts) • 0

This is an entry to few of the posts. So it's quite long..oops!

I feel for all the ones that have been in accidents or helped.

And I agree that in China there are more people standing around and enjoying the show than in the west, but not becasue a lack of compassion i think.

The excuses I always hear are ridiculous, you are getting sued for helping people. Thats an urban legend and dates back far to the early 2000's.

If it's true then find the news article about those cases and what happened to them in the end. Well actually there were three cases (if i remember right)in which samaritans were sued but the court dismissed them to the expenses of the accident victim claiming to be wrongly treated...etc...! Noone (at least foreigner) was ever deported or sued (successfully)for money, trying to help accident victims.

There was a gray area in the law and the government changed it. And the gov is aware of the lack of compasion that's why they teach kids in middle school in Beijing, First Aid and thats why you see on KMG bus 161 videos of civilian heros pulling out people of their crashed cars, almost every day.

It's just an easy excuse so you don't feel guilty for not helping. Similar to the beggar mafia old guy skimming 5 mao or a kuai.
Even if there is a mafia so what you can't spare 5 mao for that poor man/woman working for those jerks.

What do you think, not giving him money changes him for the better? So he will find a job at microsoft or quite the mafia job....I recommend a logical though about this, keyword "Mafia".

Help, when/if you can, and enjoy the feeling of it. I did help in China before and I had a wonderful experience seeing others assisting or even taking the lead. the victim were grateful (when they were able to show it) and the cops were nice and respectful.

On three accounts it was a very positive experience.

An accident is a dynamic situation that evokes fear, selfreflection and intimidation (similar to stage fright) every shrink will tell you that. When one starts helping, others (not everyone) will join (peer-pressure). If not just give them minor tasks (get a blanket, call the ambulance, please bring some water) and see what happens, you will be amazed.

About Crazylaowai, I agree the 5000years of culture thing is ridiculous, what is this an age competition? every culture on earth is as old as the other. nomads started to settle and un-nomaded themself, there the established culture started (plus the time before they started, and while they were on the move).

European, Native Amer....yeah... every culture is as old as Chineses'. So people should award China a medal for having their culture as long as anyone else. Oh yeah and especially if you are so proud of your (East or West) culture, then you should especially work on how you treat living beings.

We are all equally bad and good, China is no exception.

Also about the "If you don't like it why don't you leave China." it is a big funny diversion and how does that help? Chinese or the foreigners.

Again a rational logical thought might fix it...(seriously, if you wanna kick out everyone that has a little criticism about a foreign culture what would happen in the long run.)

China needs changes (politics actually agree) but without pointing out what probelms exist it would be hard to find out for people used to the problems. And if you think thats arrogant, then why, if you are aware of the problem didn't you start changing it, already. So then it would be: arrogannce versus ignorance.

...What's better or worse?

Imagine I stop you on your motorbike and tell you, that you have a flat tire. Would you reply with the same statement "If you don't like it, why don't you leave China?" ....that would be funny, though.

My point is not every critical though is a criticism of the people and culture. Isn't it in China's best interest to change social issues?

So who cares who mentions it. You can go to Europe and do the same thing and people actually may appreciate it.

There is thise funny Chinese Immigrant mocking American culture, James Wong or so, he is great....Good Job!

Chinese (same as foreigners) living in their entrusted cozy environment, don't want to move their ass and change their direct environment. It's so much easier and comfy to blame anyone who has an open eye for change. And then if someone sees and mentiones it the locals are "stupified". East or West, same thing.

Well Laotou,
dunno if you realized it but China is smoking rich, unfortunately the money is spend on aircraft carriers, space ships, rockets, and independent space station (rather than using the well working existing one and try team work for once), big VW CC or Hummers for governemtn officials..etc
China owns one third of the U.S., so money is no problem.
But maybe talk to a farmer and poor people and see how much help they receive from the gov., and keeping the country together and protect from all the foreign invaders (equals=drug traffickers and dealers)... :)
The opium war has nothing to do with helping in an accident plus I recommend to get historical facts straight.

The laowai's in the past didn't just open opium dens for fun.

Little hint everything happens for a reason. And before I hear again you are not Chinese, you don't know the truth, then I recommend to check more independent or more updated history books about the Opium Wars.
The opium wars weren't the brightest spot on the horizon of westers civilisation but I think China has a few dark spots too.

so maybe we can put the whole nationalistic /rascist attidudes aside and agree that we are all not perfect and need to evolve, together would be a great idea.
Also ask yourself why are those problems you mentioned so hypocritical, what possible reason could there be? I have two floating around and they are both correct.

Yes it's true, many people in the west don't just help becasue they think it's awesome (i ssume some do) but most do help, because the law states that IF YOU DON'T HELP, YOU GO TO JAIL.
So not all westeners are samaritans by trade but becasue they don't want to go to jail and Even then some still let people die in their wrecks.

The violin guy was not a social experiment but an musical experiment they wanted to find out if people with musical knowledge would recognize his talent or even who he is. A pretty tricky task if you are not an art fan specialized in violin stuff.
I think his name is Kennedy an Irish dude living in Germany. (if thats the same guy)

So everyone should take a deep breath and get out of the system that Chinese just watch the misery. They might actually never heard of how to help and try to put yourself in the position what would happen, if you would have absolutely no idea about first aid, what would you do?

I love China too and I still mention things that are not perfect here, becasue if they ever change I would be proud of the people and government. And many things have changed and more will come...
I'm looking forward to it.

aaronb (54 posts) • 0

I admit that I didn't read the whole thread. I respect the point being made, but I think the lack of careful wording in the OP was just asking for responses like Misfit's. I am not Chinese, but I am totally opposed to any anti-Chinese comments. Any insinuation that any cultural group could lack humanity is really insulting. Use more specific( or less divisive) language to get your point across.

At the same time, the reply that Misfit and many others often give "but look, the same thing happens elsewhere" is all too common and really lame. People not helping other people is indefensible. Period. 2 wrongs don't make a right.

There is obviously a problem in Kunming and other cities, where people here are super individualistic in public-or as Laotou put it, many people only feel responsibility to their families. The claim of lawsuits is somewhat bogus, for reasons that I won't go into here. Further, if you can't help, why stand and watch?

I do think that many people across China would be more willing to help a hurt foreigner, and why that is so is worth discussing.

On an optimistic note, I have seen what I think is an increase of local people helping local strangers who have been hurt in the street, and I have been really impressed by that.

The Dudeson's (1106 posts) • 0

I agree things are getting better in general and i made the same observation of people being more helpful especially looking back 10 years ago.

about the 2 wrongs don't make things right, I agree as well, even freaggin rats help each other, shouldn't be such a big deal for the human race to help each other, right?
...don't we claim to be so much smarter, than the animals?

I don't think it's lame comparing the two cultures, looking into some of the threads it looks like there are big misunderstandings on how those two cultures work (together).

Some westeners think that the west is the best and some chinese think theirs is the best and pointing out that they forgot that we have the same problems in slightly different ways. just helps to bring the conversations back to reality.
It's a fact that the exact problems appear but slightly different is not exactly lame. Crime, corruption, discrimination, rascism helping in accidents, you name it. If it would be that clear no one would mention it.

But a lot of the threads are realease valves of anger and frustration, exegerated opinions influenced by bad media...(sorry aaronb,...but on both sides)....

aaronb (54 posts) • 0


I am not sure if I was clear enough:

I am not saying don't criticize aspects of a culture, or compare it to aspects of other cultures. I am also not saying you shouldn't criticize a place, or a society, or the age that you live in. What I meant (and probably shouldn't have used the word "culture") is that Chinese doesn't just mean the PRC. It doesn't even just mean China. It means lots of things.

Importantly, it is also a name for an ethnic group, or people who were raised with a certain language, and that is where we get to a point where it is unacceptable to criticize in too general a way.

That is why I was talking about using more specific, or, at least, less inherently divisive language. Now, since almost nobody does this, they will say I am nitpicking. Because of course the OP is not racist, and anyone can guess from the context that by "Chinese' the OP was just criticizing something that happens in today's China, and not questioning the humanity of all people who could be called Chinese. No problem.

But it is pretty clear by the responses to these kinds of threads, that many people don't get. So there IS a problem. I agree that people who get offended would better served to spend less time on defense and more time on open inquiry, but they don't get it, and it would be useless to blame them.

laotou (1714 posts) • 0

Dang - kicked my pigu for longest gokm post record. China's smokin rich but money sometimes can't solve all problems. China has a cultural gap - despite those 5k years of history. This is evidenced nowhere else more obviously than KM. We have a (Thank you QiuHe!) wonderfully progressive city - yet the people still spit like tobacco chewers (with the hacking sound FX), hurl trash everywhere (including their brat kids), drive as though drunk (or on a cell phone...or both) etc etc ad infinitum.

China's culture today lost the elegance, honor, and virtues of old, although it's still around in small pockets. We're living in a culture consumed by personal greed and selfishness. The responsibility displayed by Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao during the Sichuan earthquake was an excellent start to demonstrating the some of the more civilized and better things of olde - but China's a mammoth ship - it takes a long time for the country to move and the government needs to be consistent in both its ancient war on corruption and extolling the virtues of social responsibility and social harmony.

We'll get there - it just may take a few generations.

misfit (110 posts) • 0

In western world there is generally less attention (and compassion) for strangers than in china.
In the west poor people dies every day in the streets because of lack of food/clothes/health assistance etc without any form of compassion from passengers. That has nothing to do with culture but it's due to the massive urbanization that started long time before china and made people used to these sad events.
Chinese cities are urbanizing faster and in terms of lack of compassion many of them can compete with places like paris, london or new york, kunming is still on his way...

Maley (5 posts) • 0

The violonist was Joshua Bell. He and the Washington post led a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?


Everywhere in the world you have people who cares about others, and some who look only after their own belly.

This story (of the accident) could have happened anywhere...
It is not about country, culture...it is about personal behavior and believes. Thank you crazy.laowai to have helped this man.

The real question is not about Chinese compassion, but...human one.

And when you heard/read stories about someone died after giving help (www.chinasmack.com/[...] or www.20minutes.fr/[...] (in French)), you start wondering not about compassion, but Humanity.

BillDan (268 posts) • 0

"In western world there is generally less attention (and compassion) for strangers than in china."

What a load of cap this statement is. Anytime there is some sort of criticism about something in China you will surely fund these founded comments stating the exact opposite that everybody, including the poster, knows is garbage. The poster knows the information is true but must come running to the rescue of China (to the help the Motherland if the person be Chinese). If the poster is foreign their motives are less pro-China than it is anti-west in terms of sentiment.

I have read this types of "rebuttals" regarding other topics as well, such as:

> People in the west (in particular the US of course) beat women more.

>People in the west beat their children more.

>People in the west molest children more.

>Men in the west cheat on their wives more. (Have no fear, you have all sorts of statistics right out of China itself to support all of these absurd claims).

>People in the west drive worse than this do in China and there are more accidents in western countries.

>Men in the west drink and smoke more (yes, I have read this in threads).

> People in the west are crueler to animals actually.

>Intellectual Property theft is much, much mre of a problem in the west than in China.

>Products made and sold in the west are of an inferior quality to products made in and sold in China.

>Students in the west cheat more in school.

and on and on...

and that there is less compassion in the west towards strangers in China would be funny were it not so blasted ignorant.

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