A strange, new dilemma faces Chinese pedestrians: should you help an elderly person who has fallen into the street?
The answer seems simple. Your conscience compels you to help someone in danger.
But many Chinese are discovering that some of these injured people are scammers. They accuse good Samaritans of having knocked them over in the first place, and they lodge complaints in hopes of receiving large amounts of compensation.
There are frequent reports on such incidents and ensuing disputes. On Sept 8, a new case happened in Huainan, Anhui province.
Yuan Chen, a 20-year-old college student from Huainan Normal University, claimed that she helped an injured elderly woman on the street. But the woman’s family has demanded that Yuan take full responsibilities for the injuries, The Beijing News reported.
Since the incident happened in the security cameras’ blind spot, both sides are looking for witnesses to clear their names. The local police department is also investigating the case.
But how can you possibly solve a case like this, where the only evidence comes from two conflicting viewpoints?
“This kind of cases should follow the principle of ‘the burden of proof lies with the person making the claim’,“ Ye Lin, a law professor from Renmin University of China, told China Central Television.
The burden of proof means the collection of proof or evidence. In civil cases, “if you accuse someone of causing you harm or losses, you should collect convincing proof to back your claim,“ said Ye. “If you cannot do that, the law will not be able to support your claim.“
The law may not resolve all the problems, however. Some elderly people choose to blackmail their helpers because they do not have health insurance. To prevent this, the country needs to put in place a better social security net, China Youth Daily noted.