Chinese province debates law after hit-and-run outcry

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Media captionThe incident was captured on surveillance cameras

A Chinese province is debating the introduction of a law to force people to help others in obvious distress.

It comes after a two-year-old girl was left for dead after being run over by a van - and then ignored by 18 passers-by.

She is currently in hospital fighting for her life.

The law might never be enacted - but even discussing such a measure shows the level of anger generated in China by this case.

The fallout from this incident, which happened in the city of Foshan in southern Guangdong Province, continues.

'Promoting morals'

Provincial groups from the ruling Communist Party, government departments and associations are talking about a new law.

This could make it illegal for people to ignore those in need of help.

"Many laws, including forbidding drunken driving, in China have been passed after high-profile individual cases," said lawyer Zhu Yongping, according to a report in the English-language China Daily.

Other media outlets report that the introduction of a law will be debated at a meeting of lawyers next month.

Initial online polls, though, suggest most people are against it.

"Talk about being civilised first. Is anyone paying attention to that?" read one posting.

Organisations in Guangdong are also looking at other ways to encourage people to act with compassion when faced with an emergency.

The provincial government's political and legal affairs committee is using its micro-blog site to gather opinions about how to "guide brave acts for just causes" and promote "socialist morals".

This debate has been sparked by an accident last week involving the toddler Wang Yue.

She was knocked down by a van while wandering through a market, where her parents run a shop. The driver sped off without checking on the girl's condition.

Over the following minutes, 18 people went past the bleeding toddler - and another van ran over her legs - but no one stopped to help.

It was all recorded by a surveillance camera, with the distressing footage shown on television.

There have been millions of internet comments about how to encourage good Samaritans - and many more expressing outrage that so many people refused to help.

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