Shanghai drafts Good Samaritan law to encourage help to strangers

2015-09-08 00:57:23 GMT2015-09-08 08:57:23(Beijing Time)  Global Times

Shanghai has drafted a bill to provide liability protection to volunteers with medical training to administer first aid, as people have grown indifferent over extortion.

The Shanghai Municipal People's Congress has started the legislative process to regulate the city's emergency health services. Under the new law, volunteers will not be held liable in emergency cases, reported.

The bill defines "Good Samaritans" as those with medical skills and possess a professional medical certificate.

An online poll conducted by the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress showed that around 92 percent of Shanghai residents support the bill.

A series of cases of "Good Samaritans" being extorted by those they helped in accidents have caused indifference and apathy.

On August 30, a 60-year-old man in Henan Province fell off his scooter on the road and died because passers-by refused to offer help.

"We can only rely on some local government regulations to protect Good Samaritans," Tan Qiugui, a law professor at Minzu University, told the Global Times. Cities like Hangzhou and Shenzhen have already introduced similar laws.

According to Tan, China does not have national law to protect Good Samaritans. Globally, there are two types of Good Samaritan laws. Countries like France require a "duty to rescue" that punishes those who fail to assist people in danger or to report these incidents to authorities. Others, like Iceland, do not require such but instead have statutes that shield the rescuer from liability.

"The law can change society's attitude toward helping people in need, which will deter victims from making false accusations against those who offer help, and encourage more Good Samaritan behavior in Chinese society," Tan said.

However, Tan said laws alone are insufficient. "Extortion cases have severely damaged trust between people, scaring would-be Good Samaritans. We need time to change social attitudes."


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