Bystanders Only Help After Old Man Says He Fell By Himself



From Sina:

Who Does It Hurt When an Old Man Over 70 Cries “I Fell On My Own” After Falling Down In Order To Get Help?

Recently, various major websites have one by one all reprinted a rather obscure piece of news: A 75-year-old man in Nanjing, while getting off the bus, accidentally fell down from the rear door of the bus, was unable to get up, and the other passengers behind him all did not dare go forth to help him. The old fellow shouted: “I fell on my own, you all do not need to worry, it had nothing to do with you all.” Only after hearing this did the crowd of passengers go forth to help him.

I confess, this piece of news is more or less a little absurd. With the stream of people at a bus stop, a seventy plus old person falls down yet nobody offers to help? Have people become so indifferent to this degree? The answer is no, and the old man’s “I fell on my own, you all do not need to worry” is where the crux of the problem lies. Let us spend a little time to look back at the “Peng Yu Incident” that previously took everyone by storm for a time:

Peng Yu

2006 November 20, also Nanjing, a young person named Peng Yu [picture above] kindly helped up an old woman who had fallen down, and at the request of the old woman took her to the hospital. The result was that this old woman then maintained that it was Peng Yu who the person who had knocked her down. Peng Yu strongly denied that he knocked over the old woman. Both sides eventually went to court and Peng Yu was fined in the first instance to bear a portion of the old woman’s medical expensies, totally over 40,000 yuan, relying on the “common sense deduction” that: “According to society’s logic/reason, if Peng Yu was doing a good deed, Peng Yu could have let the old woman’s family send her to the hospital after they arrived, and then leave on his own. However Peng Yu did not make such a choice, and his actions contradict what is reasonable”; “Peng Yu, on the day of the incident, paid the old woman over 200 yuan and even did not request that the old woman pay him back”; etc. What is worth raising is that the Peng Yu Incident triggered discussions on various major websites. One website’s blog homepage headline impressively was: Survey: 80% of bloggers choose not to be good people anymore.

Here are some cartoons that were made about the Peng Yu case:



From the cartoon above:

Man In Water: “Save Me!”

Judge: “Verdict: From common sense analysis, the probability that you pushed him into the water is more likely. If it was not you who pushed him into the water, you completely did not have to go rescue him.”

Judge: “Verdict: From common sense analysis, the probability that you knocked over the old grandpa is more likely. If it was not you who knocked him over, you completely did not have to go help him up.”

Judge: “Verdict: From common sense analysis, the probability that you accidentally injured the woman is more likely. If it was not you who did it, you completely did not have to go save her and send her to the hospital.”

Comments from Tianya:


This kind of old fellow is exactly what our society needs, willing to bear responsibility.


This old person is very sensible. This is the correct and effective way of doing things. If you want others to help, you should help reduce their fear of unexpected consequences. As was said above, it is harmonious this way.


Dammit, the tragedy of humanity, I am truly afraid of when I get old and need help but no one dares to care.

Consider, if the old fellow became unconscious and did not say what he did, what would have the result been?

Who knows, he could have died on the street.


Nanjing’s old woman Xu and her son have left a terrible legacy! Corrupting Chinese people’s disposition of readily helping others, I spit a mouthful of thick phelgm on old woman Xu!


One of my friends, when driving, saw an old woman fall down while riding a bicycle, stopped to kindly go help, and the result was her biting him in return saying she was knocked over by his car. The police came and spent half the day without finding any trace of her being hit, but still had my friend pay money or have his license and car taken confiscated.


“I fell on my own.”

This phrase will definitely become famous/popular.

We also need to praise this old man a little, so when old people encounter similar circumstances in the future, they will know what to do.


Nanjing ah, Nanjing, so embarrassing!


In China, doing what is right will result in lifelong regret!

Being harmed, the government only condemns it, symbolically gives 5000 RMB, and even wants you to stoop down to bow and say thanks, with no one caring about the medical expenses!

If you are disabled, you only end up harming your own family!

With the country so prosperous, that much money in finances, and the taxes so heavy, why can’t they bear the compensation damages for those who do the right thing?


Old woman Xu and her son truly lost face for Nanjing people.

The court comrades truly are geniuses!!!


Except for those who do the right thing, dial 110 when something happens.

Hurt or disabled, let the government take care of them [because they will not].


I simply do not understand how there are that many mental retards, who only believe Peng Yu’s side? If a person knocks over an old person, they can use being a Good Samaritan to escape responsibility?

If it was not you who knocked over the old woman, why did you take out 300 yuan and give it to the old woman? The old woman was much wealthier than you Peng Yu. The old woman’s son already arrived, did she need you to go with her all the way to the hospital? Why wait until you’re in the courtroom to suddenly pretend and claim you are a Good Samaritan?

The Chinese have too few people willing to use their brains and too many people who are ignorant, it is no wonder we suffer the Party’s oppression.


One day an old person downstairs had slipped,
and continuously struggled to stand back up.
Not a few people passed by, but all only looked at him once before passing.
I and a young guy from the other side of the street together helped the old man up (him alone simply could not get up).
Before the old man had gotten back on his feet, the young guy and I exchanged looks,
both probably thinking of these things, and quickly walked away, not feeling lie we had done a good thing.
Now, just being kind results in feeling guilty.


Looks like the old man has spent some time on the internet before…had he not said that, he definitely would have died and no one would have paid him any attention.

Comments from NetEase:


Haha, what a satire.


To be honest, if I were to encounter a similar situation I would still not rashly extend my hand to help. How would I know if it was not a “trap”? Unless I have a audio-recording pen or something like a video recorder on me to clearly prove that I am innocent.


I am not a Nanjing person.
Nanjing as a city is innocent,
because this same thing happens in any city in China.
It is a result of society’s mores.
We should condemn to social system that causes this kind of bad mores.


Nanjing judge, you have truly done a good job, making Nanjing citizens become smarter.


Speaking of the Peng Yu case, even now I am still gnashing my teeth, that detestable judge. The judge should be killed for making society like this. Who knows how Peng Yu is doing now?


I am not a good person. I do not help people I do not know!!!


Resolutely do not care/get involved. In the moment that a person falls/slips, they will feel a kind of external fore, and this kind of external force is often believed to be a push from someone else through experience. Him dying is good, him not dying is also good. We should resign ourselves to our own fates.


No matter what, we would still to stay far away from an old woman. This is not our personal choice/preference, but rather the only choice modern society gives us!


Very civilized, very harmonious.
I support Nanjing being chosen as the smartest and most civilized city.


Sigh…after the PengYu Incident, people need to think carefully/clearly before going forth to help someone…


My mother fell during winter, and the good-hearted people she met only stood far away and asked “Do you want me to help you call 120?”
This is what Chinese people are like now!

The reasons are different but I remember many people commented about Chinese people not helping each other in the post about the woman drowning in her car while her husband and son watched. Have you had a bad experience or bad result after helping someone?


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


Leave a Reply

2 Pings & Trackbacks

  1. Pingback:

  2. Pingback:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.