Hit-and-Run Toddler Dies

A young girl succumbs to her injuries, prompting an outpouring of emotion from China's netizens.

2011-10-21
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hitandrun-305.jpg A still from a surveillance camera shows a man walk past the injured girl without offering to help her.
Photo appears courtesy of Sina Weibo

Thousands of Chinese netizens left messages of condolence on popular microblogging services Friday after a toddler hit twice in hit-and-run accidents died from her injuries.

Medical staff at the Guangzhou Military District Hospital said Wang Yue, known by her family nickname, Yue Yue, died in the early hours of Friday morning.

"Her injuries were too severe and the treatment had no effect," intensive care unit director Su Lei told reporters.

The response to Yue Yue's death on Sina's Weibo site eclipsed the news of the death of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi following his capture by rebel forces on Thursday.

Sina set up a micro-site dedicated to the memory of Yue Yue, whose accident in the southern city of Foshan sparked widespread concern over what many say are falling moral and social standards in China.

"Wishing you well, little Yue Yue," wrote user @chenyan, one of more than 8,000 commenters.

"It chills the heart to think of the coldness of those passers-by, but surely the parents, who had a duty to watch over and protect her, must bear some of the responsibility?"

The accident sparked public fury after street camera footage from her hometown of Foshan showed her being run over twice, as more than a dozen passers-by walked past without helping her.

The accident was filmed on a closed-circuit surveillance camera, and the video widely posted online, garnering millions of viewers.

Online campaign

Chinese netizens launched an online campaign of harassment, targeting some of those depicted in the video as looking at Yue Yue lying bleeding and crying on the ground, but doing nothing to help.

The majority of people posted candle animations with messages of condolence, with many commenting: "There are no cars in heaven."

"I wish you all the best where you are going, Yue Yue, but I hope this society stops its coldhearted ways," wrote one user.

Another, @tcchong28 added: "It's a shame that a two-year-old had to see humanity's darkest side."

"I think this society is sick beyond saving," wrote @wenyibaobei-woaini. "Were those 18 passers-by all blind?"

Police have detained the drivers of both vans on suspicion of causing a traffic accident but have not said what formal charges they would face.

Both drivers who hit the child say they didn't see her, and the first to run her over has expressed deep sadness and regret to Yue Yue's family, official media reported on Tuesday.

Officials in Foshan rewarded garbage collector Chen Xianmei, who offered to help after the girl had lain there screaming for seven minutes, with 10,000 yuan (U.S. $1,570), according to the English-language China Daily newspaper.

Reported by Luisetta Mudie.

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