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The Pressing Need for Religious Guidance in China

A shameful, amoral society has developed to China’s detriment

Op-Ed Commentary: Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Oct. 18 – Anyone who has viewed the appalling footage of the two-year-old toddler Yue Yue being run over – and then ignored by 18 successive people as she lay seriously wounded in a backstreet in Foshan will also recognize the major failing of the Chinese Communist Party in protecting China’s heritage – the complete abolition of morality.

The girl, who had wandered out into a small back street to look for her brother, was hit by a light truck. Video footage clearly shows driver negligence in striking her; she was easily visible in the middle of a narrow lane. It’s what happened next that has appalled. Knowing he has run her over, the driver pauses for several seconds, then decides to drive on. In doing so, he runs her over again with his rear wheels, and drives off. The lane is busy and over a dozen individuals walk right past her unconscious body, prostrate on the ground in the middle of the lane, without stopping to check. A minute later, she is run over by a truck. All this occurs in a well-lit lane with a hardware market lined with small shops. Finally, a garbage collector spots her, lifts her up, and carries her to the relative safety of the roadside. Her mother then appears and the little girl is taken to the hospital. She seemed in a really bad way – and reports conflict over whether she has already died or remains in a deep coma with permanent brain damage.

This is modern China, the world’s second largest economy, and in a prosperous city. GDP in Foshan grew by 12 percent in 2010, and it has a total income of RMB565 billion. Although it may be relatively unheard of in the West, Foshan is the 11th richest city in China.

What is shocking is not the accident per se, regrettably such incidents are part of life and young children are always vulnerable. What really hits home and is shocking is the fact the driver drove away – causing the child further trauma by running her over with his rear wheels – he must have felt the back of the lorry go over her pathetic, tiny bump – and the attitude of those individuals walking and driving past. It was obvious that a small child lay dying in the street, yet 18 people ignored her until the garbage collector picked her up.

In this aspect, a dangerous lack of moral guidance in China towards its own population is revealed. It is not the first time; the poisoning of 300,000 infants in the melamine milk scandal – a situation born purely out of greed and involving a large state-owned enterprise – dictates that the Chinese Communist Party has failed in its attempts to provide moral guidance to the Chinese people. The list of occasions whereby the Chinese people have responded with callousness to someone in distress is growing. It is however not an issue that concerns race. It is an issue that concerns moral guidance and the serious lack of ethics in contemporary China. That is a social matter and is the responsibility of the State to oversee. The Communist Party, quite simply, has shown total ideological neglect to this aspect of the “China Dream.”

In assuming power, the Chinese Communist Party also assumed a paternalistic approach to governing China, and has much to be proud of in uniting the Chinese people and creating a modern society. Yet, just beneath the surface, problems remain to which Yue Yue is sadly symptomatic. In insisting that the CCP itself is the sole moral arbitrator of China, and in doing so suppressing religious groups, the CCP has effectively suppressed the very soul of its people – the ability to understand the difference between right and wrong. The Chinese have not become immoral. They have metamorphasized into something even worse – an amoral society, being one that cannot tell the difference between right and wrong. It is an extremely dangerous force to unleash among a population of 1.3 billion.

The Chinese government’s own guidelines to its citizens have not helped. In fact they have made matters worse. In the guidelines on how to help elderly people who have fallen down, issued by the Ministry of Health in September, the public are advised: “Don’t rush to lend a hand to the elderly after seeing them fall over. It should be handled by different measures in different situations.”

The guidelines suggest evaluating the person’s physical condition, determining the cause of the accident, and making a plan for rescue workers before lending a hand. In reality, this is an officially sanctioned delay in providing any first aid or assistance to the injured. The ministry said the guidelines have nothing to do with morality and ethics, but explain how to deliver assistance in a scientifically proper way. What has happened is that the population, not wishing to get involved, are doubly traumatized in terms of their morality because should they break this code, they can be considered liable for any damage to the individual. It has occurred – a Nanjing court recently awarded damages to an elderly person after a passerby stopped to help her. Clearly, the official guidelines are absurd rather than scientific, and as the Ministry itself stated “Have nothing to do with morality.” China’s dream of a scientifically-based society is being developed at the express removal of ethics.

Turning towards the normal method of instructing citizens in moral guideline – religion – China may well point to the different religions that can practice in China, the Muslim regions of Xinjiang and Ningxia, the Buddhist stronghold of Tibet, the Jews of Kaifeng, and the State-sanctioned version of the Catholic Church as proof of their all-embracing approach. This would be fine if the State provided moral education and didn’t interfere with the religious aspect. But it doesn’t. It actively discourages religious freedom, and unlike nearly all modern societies, has no religious education within its schools. In the absence of any religious subject matter in education for the past 60 years, coupled with suppressing individuals from attending religious services as an option, China has developed into a desolate, amoral wasteland. The result is the ignoring of a seriously wounded two-year-old girl in a busy lane. Quite simply, no one cared enough to get involved. They all – cleaning woman aside – put their own welfare first.

Religions of course are not immune to their own downsides. Conflicts between the three Abrahamic faiths run deep. Other philosophies such as Buddhism have also had their internal issues. But all, at heart, have been responsible within their own communities for educating their followers in the differences between right and wrong, good and bad, love and hate. China has stripped that away and has replaced it with a pithy collection of quasi-jingoistic jargonology derived from Lenin. China, let us not forget, is officially atheistic. I’d prefer not to be, watching the appalling sight of Yue Yue being treated as little more than dead garbage to be left at the side of the road. It’s inhuman. Pigs do not have morals. Humans should have, and without these we descend back to the lower species of mammals – unfeeling, uncaring, and devoid of compassion. Even elephants, monkeys and dogs have been known to mourn their dead.

Concerning China’s treatment of religion, and of those who under long-held religious structures have for centuries provided moral guidance, we learn of Tibetan Monks continuing to immolate themselves, of the last synagogue in Kaifeng being turned into a supermarket, mosques being shuttered in Xinjiang, and Catholic priests detained against their will because they support the Vatican. It is obscene, and the results of the suppression of moral teachings are clear in contemporary China. I warn that the situation can only continue to deteriorate unless China’s amorality is corrected.

Hopefully, the outrage will spark a religious and moral revival in China, and a desire to know God. Because without Him, we are little better than animals – as the callous treatment of a two-year-old girl has painfully demonstrated. The Chinese Communist Party need a radical rethink of their policies towards moral guidance within China, and the long-established role that globally recognized religions have to play. China’s suppression of such has gone way too far, and at the probable cost of a young girl’s life, seedily snuffed out in a Foshan backstreet where only the lowly, a garbage collector with the least to lose, had sufficient grace and compassion to care.

Chris Devonshire-Ellis is the principal of Dezan Shira & Associates. He received a religious education prior to establishing Dezan Shira & Associates in 1992.

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69 Responses to The Pressing Need for Religious Guidance in China

  1. Moral Atheist says:

    You are saying this incident happened because they do not know God but as an atheist I’ve never felt that God had anything to do with choosing to do the right thing… and in this world there are plenty of God-fearing people who commit atrocious crimes and plenty of good atheist who have helped those in need.
    I believe in nothing; no God, no afterlife, no eternal reward or no eternal punishment for my deeds but swear on my life I would have stopped, called an ambulance and the authorities, held that little girl’s hand and tried my damnedest to sooth and comfort her while waiting for help to arrive.
    Never would I even dream of passing her by without helping, and I sure as hell wouldn’t have kept going if I was the driver!
    I don’t require a belief in God to be a good person, nor do I feel obligated to be a good person because I fear going to hell. It’s very simple, I’m a good person simply because I am. I feel it’s important to do right in one’s lifetime, because this is the only time I get.
    I don’t hate religion or God, like some atheists do but it bothers and scares me when people start to blame lack of God because in my opinion, regardless of what you believe… there is simply no excuse for this kind of heartless behavior. 🙁

  2. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    @Moral Atheist – thanks for your comments. I feel rather sad you ‘believe in nothing’, however that’s another issue. The fact remains 18 people walked past when confronted with Yue Yue and did nothing. Now, people across China are saying that people from Foshan are heartless, as if they don’t represent the real Chinese people at all. In short, its easy to say “I would never have done that” whereas in this case, we can see that 18 out of 19 did. It seems the Chinese people, when confronted with their own stark reality of morals when shown it in a mirror, still reject what they see. Religion or no religion, God or no God, that is an immensely depressing denial. – Chris

  3. Another moral atheist says:

    Personally, I think it is a little bit immoral using atheism as a scapegoat for this horrific loss of morality, to try push your own religious convictions! I do not disapprove of, nor dislike, nor hate people with religious convictions, but to say an absence of such in a person results in immorality is wrong. There are plenty of actions and things that are endorsed in religious scriptures e.g. the Bible, which are evil by today’s standards. There are many fundamentalists and conservatives of all faiths preaching and acting out such hateful words and acts, all in the ‘name of God’. You could hardly argue that al-Qaeda’s religiously motivated terrorist acts are humane and good, could you? And is not all actions and events all ready pre-known and pre-determined by this all powerful, omnipotent God? All in all, I think that religious conviction, nor lack of is the cause of this dreadful event; I think it is merely the result of the deterioration of morality in an over-populated, desensitized and dehumanized human society.

  4. Eric Amadi says:

    i believe in God but what happened to that little girl has nothing to do with God. Everybody who passed by that little girl is a coward plain and simple, The bible has an abhorrence for cowards, no matter what you believe or don’t believe in, the worst thing you can ever do is stand by as bad things happen. In my country, what happened here is unthinkable! I no longer have any respect for chinese citizens they are already dead being controlled by their government. Zombies.

  5. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    May I re-iterate I did not specifically call purely on Christianity or the Bible as benchmarks. As a matter of fact I refered to ‘religious guidance’ and included Buddhism in that – which is not a mono-theistic (single God revering) philosophy.
    My point is there is no moral guidance in China and the CCP don’t seem to be providing any. The result is the lack of care or compassion we have seen. You may debate you don’t need religion – but what are you going to do to replace it when faced with China’s obvious lack of morals, ethics and compassion? It’s uncomfortable to be faced with a society lacking in these values, but it needs to be faced up too as a failing. That’s the question to answer. You can leave God out of it – but where is your alternative? Thanks – Chris

  6. Emma Campbell says:

    Interesting article, from a biased religion pusher. It seems the author purports that China’s lack of christianityo is to blame for the treatment (or lack thereof) given to a mortally wounded toddler. In NZ and Australia, a massive number of the population define themselves as being agnostic/atheist and I am quite sure we would never see such a disgraceful display of non-action in these places, christian or not. Caring about your fellow beings should be a human instinct. I don’t know why those people walked past without caring. It’s sickening. I am sure not all of China’s population would be so callous and it would be racist of us to think so. Terrible cruelty and lack of care has gone on in all cultures/religions regardless. However, this is the most sickening story I have ever seen, and I too an confused as to how this could happen when we are all people.

  7. gemma says:

    I agree it does not take religion to be good inside. A lot of religious do bad things also. That is why in religion nobody can judge anyone.
    How do you know then which is good or bad if you had no moral foundation as a child. How did you know which is good or bad? It has to be a moral education that taught you or your parents. Where would they get the knowledge of good and evil?
    Instinct pertains to basic needs like food and shelter. But doing good depends on upbringing and culture. Culture comes from what you have learned. It is only instinct if you learned from the Spirit and not from any human being- that is a universal guide- if you don’t want to label it as “God”.
    It is strange that some prefer to believe in hell and hell is their reason to avoid doing bad. Who taught them hell?- Even the word itself. Is this instinct also?
    for a pro there is a con. What is their opposite of hell then if they believe in nothing else?
    If there is such a thing as good and bad (opposites), what is their opposite of “hell” which they believe alone?
    It is not being racist to expressed a blatant observation of a sample of people from a common culture. It is being factual. Please provide also a sample observation in the same place where majority observed did a good deed for someone. Then that would balance it off. It is not racism. It may be cultural information. It is something we all need to understand sometimes that people are unique based on their cultural heritage. We can’t expect everyone to be like ours as we also have our own beliefs and principles. Compassion is trying to understand anyone and see how we blend or work a way to get along and help each other. I do not condone this treatment to a child. I feel painfully sad about her being a victim of a wrong culture to my eyes.

  8. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    @Emma – I’m not a religion pusher – however I am religious. I just see that Chinese society has developed a vacuum in terms of morals. My beliefs are that this is caused by a lack of religious guidance. However, lets not let others belief in God or otherwise stand in the way. Lets for the benefit of this discussion, keep him out of it. It seems he’s not much wanted anyway. But – Chinese moral society is failing, that much is apparent. My question, perhaps originally badly put is this: If the CCP as the moral arbitrator of China is failing to educate society in its rights and wrongs, and that society has been specifically brought up as athiest, what moral guidance structure will step in to take their place and prevent the lack of compassion towards fellow human beings – and let’s not forget this was a girl of two – that has resulted?
    Or is it “one of those things” we should just accept as inevitable in a country of 1.3 billion?

  9. Shocked in China says:

    while the author of this article makes some valid points, about the moral system in china. Religion is not the be all and end all of the moral world. This little girl being left to die in the street is the fault of deep social problems in this country. Education! Lack of social systems, and fear of legal action.
    I hate to say it, but most of these people that work in that market are uneducated and poor. They would have grown up in little villages, and I would be shocked to learn if any of them had an education past grade school, because after grade school you gotta pay to go, and even if you wanna get into a non-state grade school, which has better teachers and resources, you
    gotta pay, and 90% of the country can’t afford it. They are truly the working poor.
    In china you gotta pay, for everything, and I mean everything. America gave china capitalism, and china has perfected it! If you can afford it in china, you suffer. The divide between rich and poor, is massive, so massive most people outside of china will never be able to get their heads around it.
    This judge with his ruling in Nanjing has not helped. The good hearted people of this country have had their hands tied, for fear of legal action. If you are the working poor, in a country with no social systems to help you in anyway, working in a job, that just makes the ends meet. You too would think twice about helping. The saying “you can’t get blood from a stone.” just doesn’t apply here, cause if you can’t pay up, you will get to pay with time served.
    That being said I don’t defend any of the 18 people or the 2 drivers. But this is also not a religious issue, it’s social issue, with simpler answer than most people think. Education. Social systems. Good Samaritan laws.

  10. Ralph says:

    This is the time when everyone uses a tragic situation to push their bent.

  11. S says:

    I completely agree with the author and all his comments in the comments section. For the people attacking the author for being biased: you haven’t thoroughly understood the situation that has happened to the little girl and the driving forces that bring about situations like these to occur in a society. The point once again, what could replace religion in order to become the guideline for right and wrong? That is difficult to answer because we cannot purely dictate what is right and wrong because we are not some godly all knowing figure. If the religions are based on truth and are of God’s knowledge and wisdom, then they are truly a guideline. Otherwise, pure altruism needs to be understood, practiced, and enforced in order to be some form of guideline to replace religion. So instead of attacking the author with opinions of whether or not he is biased or not, the topic of conversation should rather be, what should be done in order to prevent horrific situations like this one from occurring ever again..

  12. David says:

    Arguing with an aethiest is pointless. You will never get your point across to a person who refuses to believe in God. Aethiest people act like they know everything there is to know about Christian beliefs. Until you actually dedicate some real time readying, studying, experiencing the good faith and following the examples that God has provided, sin will always conquer those who delight in having their own way and depending on their unbeliefs as an excuse to put themselves above all others.

    Why do Aethiest people complain about Christians pushing their agenda when in reality it’s Aethiest pushing their agenda that God doesn’t exist and by doing so try their best to take action in destroying what other people believe.

    Seriously, get over yourself. If you choose not to believe in something, then mind your own business and respect what other people believe. Not like Christians point a gun at your head and force you to believe. If Christians are witnessing to you, it’s because they care unlike you people who don’t believe in a God that represents love, forgiveness, kindness, turning the other cheek, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal.

    Gods laws were put on this earth to bring a balance from wicked people falling into immorality. It’s now that people who don’t care and delight in immorality are the ones who are trying to destroy the only good that’s left so they can continue live in wickedness.

    Is it really that bad to believe in a God who teaches people how to a better person in this world? What do you Aethiest people know about the Christian religion if you haven’t even tried living it.

    That’s like saying you know more than a person who went to collage and earned a degree in their profession.

  13. Nate says:

    Keep it up Chris. The fact that many atheists ares compelled to speak out (some quite defensively I might add) somewhat speaks for itself. I believe you made a great point in that to improve a wide-spread lack morality, what -would- an atheist recommend? Nation-wide self improvement classes? Funny how some people will sniff out and accuse Christians as close minded, egotistical “religion pushers.” I think Yueyue will and already has sparked a worldwide moral debate as polarizing as abortion and gay rights, and there is no more greater purpose in this life than that.

  14. Brian Westley says:

    Another believer just immorally making up “facts” to suit his religious views, and misusing a tragic accident to push his religion. Consider:

    1) Do you know the religious beliefs of the 18 people who failed to stop and help? No.
    2) Has there been widespread outrage by Chinese citizens over this? Yes.

  15. Benjamin C. says:

    Blame on the anti-religious communists government & systems… Sick & heartless people. Why Western countries not boycott & cut off all trades with China? Just because of they are rich & can’t live without gaining benefits from them?

  16. LG says:

    This has nothing to do with God or Religion,it is who has the conscience and who has none.
    I am a Roman Catholic,but i do not view myself as a saint.

    But,when i saw the footage of the video running over a 2 year old child i was deeply bothered and feel angry,because of this sad situation.I am not a judge,but everything that happened on the day the little Yue Yue was run over by this heartless people,might suffer the same fate in a brutal manner,i believe in Karma.

  17. Kamal says:


    I rarely comment but regularly read–I guess the nature of this article has compelled me to speak, and maybe share my understanding of things.

    As a disclaimer, I’d like to say that I am Agnostic (Absurdist).

    Moving forward, I think what we were see in China is a mass accedence of the Bystander Effect/Genovese Syndrome.

    The notion that external tragedies are somebody else’s problem. As the article details, this bears startling prevalence across cultures and events. I think what religious and non-religious people find regrettable about this story, is that it is disgusting. It implies a complete lack of community amongst people of the same ethnic clade; it is disjointed from most people’s personal experience and certainly from their ideals of an egalitarian society.

    For all their progress, what has China achieved?

    One way that I agree with the religious interpretation of this moral vacuum is that most religions explicitly espouse an idea of community–to treat each other as your own. This is notably absent in most modern, secular, societies. In China, where children are born into a dispiriting extension of the corporate ladder (scrabble to the top-at all costs! From the day you’re born!), I wonder what hope these individuals have of actually looking around and acknowledging their fellow man.

    I would further argue that the stereotypical selfishness of the Chinese mentality takes historical root in the Confucian ideal (in decreasing importance): my family, my community, my country. Only the “community” no longer exists over there. So it becomes their nuclear family, and some abstract notion of country that devolves into jingoism.

    In comparison, I’d like the point out the mantra of religious Americans: my family, my God, my country. Wherein their Church community often is concomitant with “God”. The idea of “community” in Western societies, is still a valid social structure for many people.

    Are non-communal people like Atheists and Agnostics more disaffected than their religious, communal counterparts? I guess it depends. Are they just as active in their community? I think most Atheists feel marginalized in their community, especially if it is religious, and are then less likely to interact; but, does their individualism lead to indifference?

    I know a lot of Atheists do believe. Not in god, but in absolute truths to say the least. They contend a notion of Atheistic Existentialism-there is an objective truth (meaning to life), and we were meant to pursue that meaning. The only difference between this position and Theistic Existentialists (religious folk), is whether or not that meaning is ordained by the individual or by God.

    Ultimately, Atheism and Religion have that in common: they believe in absolutes. And some Atheists have a pseudo-religous understanding of science. How many Atheists actually understand the hydrophobic effect, and the mechanism by which it makes life on Earth thermodynamically possible, or why the physical nature of our universe has unspooled the way it has? The scientists do, but a lot of people do not. Arguably, I think an intimate understanding of the natural world is simply out of the reach of most people.

    So as an Agnostic/Absurdist who doesn’t believe in absolutes, I ask the Atheists: does it matter? Whether the masses derive their axiomatic truths from the Humanist Manifesto or from a religious context? Which would place them in a more immediate, intimate community versus an abstract global community? How can people learn to be citizens of the world if they can’t even be citizens of their own neighborhood?

    I think where Atheism fails to be effective is that it presents a lot of high-minded expectations of an ideal world to a large group of people that simply don’t care. Though, I also think it’s an inevitable realization amongst people that have lives deeply entrenched in scientific pursuits. But the question I wonder: why would this be any more compelling than religion to the uninitiated?

    In closing, I suppose I would like to say that I don’t think the many misfortunes of being Chinese can be attributed to a lack of religion, but maybe to a lack of community. Which is… ironic, considering they originally set out to be communist (communes… communal… community… yeah). Nonetheless, I have heard of a bit of religious resurgence in China, between Christianity and Buddhism. Perhaps the vacuum has made itself apparent to the post-90’s generation.

    Thanks for reading,

  18. Here it is says:

    @ Moral Atheist — do you have any historical evidence that God-fearing people have committed atrocities? Is this out of your own ungrounded assumptions? What is your definition of a “good person”? And why is there no excuse for this kind of behavior? Simply put it this way – if you erase God out of the picture, where is your measurement for what is right and wrong?

  19. Last time I checked says:

    Last time I checked, no religion holds a patent on morals. Morality can be learned without it.

  20. Morality =/= God says:

    @David and all of the others. I am an atheist. I spent a significant number of years studying the bible (ten actually). It’s the reason I decided to become an atheist. While I understand where the author is coming from, people aren’t amoral because the don’t know “His love”. I certainly don’t, and yet somehow I still manage to be a charitable and loving member of my community. I bring this up because you seem to think atheists are so only so because they don’t know the word. I assure you, most of us do.

    The reality is, these people walked by because legal precedent and rulings have told the Chinese that they can be punished financially and legally for stopping to help this little girl. They could potentially be putting their lives and the lives of their family at risk by stopping. 10’s of thousands of dollars in hospital bills for people who have nothing to begin with is a crushing load to bear. This is a result of bad government policy, bad legal precedent and lack of support for good Samaritans.

    Morality can exist without religion. But responsible citizens cannot exist without community support.

  21. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    Thanks for all your comments. It seems quite a varied opinion out there. I liked this last quote: “Morality can exist without religion. But responsible citizens cannot exist without community support”.

    That kind of hits it right on the head. There appears to be no “community support” in China. If that isn’t a moral issue, then what is it and what needs to be put in place to take up that role? Because clearly something is lacking. More regulations? Laws to make people responsible? – Chris

  22. sherin says:

    I’m a chinese, I am a christian.
    I can say that we can’t judge something by a religion and race. I feel ashamed that what has happened. In the same time, I think it is useless for us to debate over religious view for this matter.
    For me, if the child is still alive, pray for her to recover.
    If she passed away, pray for her that she is having a better life wherever she is and also her family.

    For me is the human being- self conscious is none. Humanity is none can be seen there. So is not about any other stuff.

  23. David says:


    Did you become saved first before you dedicated ten years of studying the bible? A very important step that a majority of people fail to take. You see, no one will ever see God until you become born again. Clearly scriptures teach that God doesn’t hear the prayer of sinners. Meaning those who are not born again and given the Holy Spirit will never be heard. Thats where Christ comes into the picture.

    Define faith. Have you ever had faith in God so much that you were willing to put him 1st before your finances, your needs, your worries, before money? That’s what tithing is for. Stewardship. Its not about showing the church or any person what amount you give, but that you gave God in secret because God knows everything you do at every moment and Is always watching. When you do things for God in secret, God reveals to you miracles that no one else can see.

    God Will show you as much attention as you show Him. But if you are not saved first, you are like a man pretending to know someone you heard about or saw their picture a few times but never really knew them in person.

    Anyone can say they know someone, but does that mean they know you? This is how God works too. How can God ever reveal to you that He exists if you do not believe in Him & Jesus Christ.

    If you only knew the truth.. The answer is right in front you the whole time but only a few people have come to know it. There are even many Christians who do not know the truth and are lost.

    But the first step is to become saved. If you haven’t seen God reveal Himself to you, then you missed this step 10 years ago.

  24. Masood says:

    Whatever It may be, its disgusting. Ask yourself, and think for a moment. Your were a child of 2 before you are what you are now. You are driving bikes, and cars, now . This wouldn’t have been possible, if not for the protection you received from people around you. You were so powerless and anyone could have harmed you. Thanks it did not happen to you, that’s why you are what you are now. Now you can defend yourself, but not then. But now you dont want to protect the helpless.

    Don’t you have children, and don’t you love them. What will happen to you if this happens to your own child. Oh this time its not your child, so why bother..

  25. David says:

    What the majority fails to understand is that Christians who believe in God are the ones who dedicate time going to church to study righteousness. Pastors are always preaching righteous examples. Teaching everyone how to understand the meaning of the stories and examples written in the bible. Teaching everyone to “love your neighbor as yourself”

    To always show hospitality even to your own enemies.

    I believe the writer was trying to state that China would be different if religious freedom was part of their culture. They need someone to not only teach them but also to “remind” them about what’s right and what’s wrong regardless of being afraid to do the right thing.

    Compare this: Christians attend church 1-6 days a week. Yes some people attend 6 days. What do they learn in church? How to be more Christ like. How to be caring. Constantly being taught and reminded to love everyone and anyone. To lend a helping hand, and never say no those in need. To be a positive influence and set examples to children and everyone around. To not do drugs and drink alchohol or smoke because the body is God’s temple. To avoid bad places and not be involved with bad influences. But to try and help those who are lost

    Now how many non believers do you see studying to be a better person in this world? Who is teaching them?

  26. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    There’s been some useful comments on this discussion for which I’m grateful for, and I think we can look at three of these in some detail:
    1) Education. This is an issue that “Shocked In China” mentioned, and although I disagree with the statement that the people in Foshan involved were poor, and therefore lacking in any values, it is a valid point. A lack of education does cause social problems. But for educating morals, that has usually been the preserve of religious classes in schools in the past. Given that China is atheist, how would mass education in behavioral morals within Chinese society best manifest itself?
    2) Law. Clearly, the statements issued the Government advising people not to get involved, and the trend of victims suing their helpers (upheld by a Nanjing judge) demonstrate the Chinese official guidance in this is an ass, if not downright subversive. But can you pass laws to make people think about the consequences upon others of their own actions? How can you legislate against selfishness? The people who walked past “didn’t want to get involved for fear of something bad happening to them” That is selfishness. Can it be regulated against? And if not, how can it be dealt with?
    3) Absurdity. I wrote in the byeline that China had descended into a shameful, amoral society. I’ve had little, if any disagreement about that, but plenty of anger towards God and the role of religion. I find that rather odd and bereft of any logic.
    Thanks – Chris

  27. aaron Loh says:

    the problem i have with christianity is that, for the most part, it is based on a reward system. In the same way children are good in the hope they get presents from santa claus, christians are ‘good’ in the hope that they will gain entry to heaven or in the fear that they will be damned to hell. we should harbour kindness towards our fellow citizens purely because we know its the right thing to do and its the way we would wish to be treated.

    The idea that a considerate community is wrought from religious guidelines is preposterous. The Philippines, a country where 80% of the population is christian has some of the highest crime rates in the world, where as the world’s most atheist country, sweden, is among the safest countries in the world.

  28. David says:

    The secret power of lawlessness is always working against God. It’s such a secret that it is hidden from the world. What you are witnessing by this example from China is part of that secret.

    Did you know that the entire world is under the greatest illusion any man has ever seen? Thats why the bible warns the entire world about being blinded by the god of this age.

    If only people could know the truth and snap out of it. And the crazy thing is that the truth is right in front of everyone’s eyes being hidden. One of the gifts from the holy spirit is the ability to discern spirits. To see what is hidden.

    2 Timothy 2:25-26
    Today’s New International Version (TNIV)
    25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

    When I mean snap out of it. I really mean it as if a person is snapping out of hypnosis. Only God can open your eyes and grant you the gift to see the hidden truth.

  29. Another moral atheist says:

    I’m sorry but ‘David’ –
    ‘Arguing with an aethiest is pointless. You will never get your point across to a person who refuses to believe in God’. I could very much say the same thing about people of a religious conviction, and yet you do not see me blatantly belittling people of good conviction; we must ALL strive to have a good moral foundation, and religion or no religion takes no part in this. ‘Why do Aethiest people complain about Christians pushing their agenda when in reality it’s Aethiest pushing their agenda that God doesn’t exist and by doing so try their best to take action in destroying what other people believe’. Excuse me, but do you see the hypocrisy in your argument? You claim that pushing a agnostic belief is infringing on your religious beliefs, and yet to ban it/disapprove of it would be to do the very same to the atheist; breach, bar and belittle what a person may believe and speak! ‘It’s not like Christians point a gun at your head and force you to believe’. Most likely not, and yet I don’t see as many other faiths out in the public with stalls and propaganda, members of churches at malls yelling that ‘all non-believers are doomed to a fiery eternity in hell’, a group so intent on injecting there morals into a secular government. ‘Pastors are always preaching righteous examples’. Yes. The molestation of our children by high members of religious organizations is an especially righteous example. I’m certain that there are plenty of agnostic pedophiles, and yet I don’t see the constant defendant/denial of such a high number of them in heads of churches, people who are to ‘set examples to children and everyone around’, something which I find unforgivable. I am a good person too; a good student, a good son. I do not smoke, drink purely socially, moderately and responsibly. I love everyone (yes, everyone) with all my heart, and yet I need no God to show me this, nor confirm my morals. They come from inside me. I think I have finished my rant; we are all equals, we all do terrible and wonderful things to ourselves and each other.

    ANYWHO, the point of this terrible tragedy is not whether to argue over who is right or wrong, if there is not a God or there is, it is about the terrible loss of a family due to the diminishing morals of a modern day society. The huge populous, huge class divide and lack of basic education in areads is the reason for this tragic event.

  30. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    @All – Could we try and answer the initial questions I posed three comments above please rather than have the conversation bogged down by personal statements, otherwise we’ll lose any useful debate that may come out of this. In short, the issues were:
    1) ) Education. Given that China is atheist, how would mass education in behavioral morals within Chinese society best manifest itself?
    2) Law. Can you pass laws to make people think about the consequences upon others of their own actions? How can you legislate against selfishness? The people who walked past “didn’t want to get involved for fear of something bad happening to them” That is selfishness. Can it be regulated against? And if not, how can it be dealt with?

    This is a ‘scientific’ and ‘non-religious’ approach to the subject matter, let’s see if we can answer these without yet having to revert to religious wisdoms or beliefs. Based upon the answers, then we can understand if there is a place in Chinese society for religion or not.

  31. David says:


    Christianity is not about a reward system. It’s not about being good to enter heaven. It’s about not allowing sin to consume you and pull you down to hell. It’s about asking Jesus Christ to save you from sin and then live your life avoiding it like a virus out in the open.

    Here is an example:

    The reality is poison kills you. Ice freezes. Fire burns. Wind blows.

    Sin pulls you to hell. Sin is what causes death. That’s all God is trying to tell you. He didn’t give you sin. Satan gave it to everyone the day eve ate from the tree as a way to destroy Gods creation and to buy him more time before God sends Satan & the fallen angels to hell.

    People misunderstand and take things out of context when the truth is quite simple.

    God is telling the world that a disease called sin is dragging you to hell and the only cure is asking Christ to erase those sins so that you don’t end up there. That’s why Jesus Christ had to live a perfect sunless life in order to become the most perfect clean sacrifice that would place a bridge between sin that tore and separated us from God.

    There are 2 deaths. Our human death which signifies “eternal separation from God” (notice how so many things in the world today are trying to shorten your life, kill you faster? such as drugs, disease, etc)

    God tries to tell everyone that you are perishing. It is what it is. It’s not His fault. But the only way he can save you is through his son Jesus Christ. But if you refuse to be saved and die on this earth, all is lost and He cannot do anything else to save you. Our human deathnmeans permanent separation from God if you did not reconcile before dying.

    The 2nd death is the true death and eternal spiritual death if you did not reconcile with God before dying the first death.

    When a storm comes, the clouds form and then rain falls. That’s how storms work. You can’t change that.

    When the sun rises, the sun keeps moving and each day you see the sunrise and sundown. That’s just the way the sun works, you can’t change that.

    When man sins, sin is what consumes a person leading them to a place called Hell. That’s just the way sin works. You can’t change that.

    However if you choose not to believe what God was trying to warn you about the truth of this world and why humanity is perishing. That doesn’t Change the fact that God tried to warn you but you didn’t listen and that’s why judgment is there. To remind you that you heard about the truth but refused it and because you chose sin over the truth, this is why humanity ends up in hell where the weeds are thrown in the fire.

  32. GD says:

    Most of us said that we would stop and help Yue Yue at first glance, and call out for help as we make sure she nows that someone in close to her. Since we read about her story and condition make us think in our own actions, our hearts love her as she went under this painful time, alone… on the street. The video shows that she was conscient, and every few seconds of edited tape, she move her arms and head in different positions.

    Most of us know about Christ and how he die on the cross. In the same way that people ignore Yue Yue, we choose to ignore the injustice that Christ has to endure at that time. Then some people talk that God do not exist, and without notice, they closely compel and identify themselves with those 18 people (two of them drivers) that pass by without helping Yue Yue. We look and talk about this despicable and heartless people, when we are exactly the same as them when we chose to ignore God’s sacrifice for humanity.

    If you really want to help, just get close to God, read/study the Bible, understand the discipleship live and become a disciple of God (Luke 9:23). There is not other way to please God than to follow him.
    Christ came to save us from dead. People do not understand that we (humans) are eternal (Genesis 1-2), and there is a sentence of eternal dead and suffering on our heads, sentence that we can not pay. That is why God sent Christ to pay for our dead sentence on the cross, and as a prove God rise him from the dead in victory. That is why we can be save only through Christ. Many people chose to worship humanity, creatures or themselves not recognizing the creator of everything, God.

    I can’t do much from Yue Yue, but pray to God so other people can recognize God, and get to know him.

    The only two places that we (should) learn to love is at home and at church, all other places teach us to love ourselves or with premises that we are going to feel better. Selfless love only can be learn thought God.

  33. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    @David, GD, can we keep clear of these statements for awhile please, I’d like some response to the questions I posed ahead of these additional sermons. Regardless of your good intentions it can come across as off-putting. Otherwise I’ll have to start deleting some of these. Thanks – Chris

    The questions:
    1) ) Education. Given that China is atheist, how would mass education in behavioral morals within Chinese society best manifest itself?
    2) Law. Can you pass laws to make people think about the consequences upon others of their own actions? How can you legislate against selfishness? The people who walked past “didn’t want to get involved for fear of something bad happening to them” That is selfishness. Can it be regulated against? And if not, how can it be dealt with?

  34. Not Real Name says:

    Everyone has a moral compass but in most Chinese it is seared. Everyone is only looking out for number 1. Without relations of aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins the one child is spoil and never taught to respect anyone but themselves as the parents are more than happy to spoil them rotten and teach them nothing. Get it all, be the best at all cost.

    Regardless of your religious or non-religious convictions every society has the basic big Ten of Moses but that can be changed molded and seared to suit your conditions and needs. If the laws says you can be in trouble for doing what your conscience is saying is right then protect number 1 and sear it, turn a blind eye and nothing happens to you. I have money and don’t know you from Adam and do not care what you think about my moral compass is the norm.

  35. Benjamin says:

    Maybe china has not done a good job to educate his people in morality even though the communist ideology contains a creed of universal fraternity between comrades. But it seems to me the main problem lies in the family education. Family is personal sphere and should be reconciled with community;it is her responsibility to give a preparatory education for her members to become good citizen. It occurs in china that what is heard from teachers is totally dismissed ,even attacked, by parents. People still adheres to the traditional conviction:sweep only the snow at your side(which means that :mind only one`s own busssiness). Therefore the repetitive highsound teaching which intends to make modern citiczen is not effective at all. Events happened these years only deepen my doubt that china will never be able to become an enlightened ,liberal democracy in the full sense. I agree that there is still room for government to improve their manner and degree in which to devote to citizen`s edification.The fundamental situation,however, is not gonna be changed without sweeping reshuffle and reintegration of basic social structure.

  36. Here it is says:

    @ Moral atheist — I wonder how you can ever be confident that God does not exist and that heaven and hell aren’t real. How in the world can you put so much confidence in yourself that if you were one of those passersby, you would be a “good person” as to lend a hand to help that poor toddler out? Give the messed-up court systems and the negligence of any moral grounding in Chinese society, would you still have confidence that you will give the toddler a helping hand even if you risk being blamed for hurting her? Look at the Nanjing court decision in fining a good Samaritan for giving a elderly person a helping hand. It’s so unreasonable how you become a law onto yourself in ruling that you’re a good person simply because you think you are. So comes your name, “Moral Atheist,” which is absolutely an onymoron because moral teachings are grounded upon the teachings of the Bible, which is also written in the hearts of mankind so that you owe it to God that you are able to have your heart broken over the fact that a poor toddler was lef to die for good out on the road. If you say that God does not exist and that heaven and hell aren’t real, it does NOT make the Bible false nor true because any objective fact is objective already regardless of your opinion of it. 2+2=4 because of mathematical logic regardless of you wishing it to be more or less than that. Christianity belongs to the category of objective fact just like mathematics is. If you choose to believe that there is no afterlife because you make no effor in investigating further, then you are in for a rude awakening once you passed the point of no return. Simply put, there is no point for treating others as you treat yourself if you erase God out of the picture. Those who acknowledge God will lend others a helping hand because they know that they stand guilty before God for not helping his/her neighbor out.

  37. Here it is says:

    Some other thing to think about — there is no such thing as an atheist. Everyone worships something. How can you say you “believe in nothing.” How can you believe in nothing? There are those who say they are atheist, but the fact is that they worship idols. But then you argue that we are moden people, we don’t worship totem poles or wooden hand-crafted images anymore. It may not be a wooden hand-crafted image, but it’s some other dead, lifeless thing, like worshipping money, beauty, prestige, fame, etc. It’s bowing down to the god of this age, manifested in forms of materialism, greed, envy, malice, etc. Man is inherently a religious being. If you worship the one true God, then good. But if you worship any other, then it’ll eat you up alive. The Chinese bow down to the god of materialism, which results in devaluing the life of a human being.

  38. Brian Westley says:

    Given that China is atheist

    What do you mean by that? Are you saying all Chinese are atheists?

    Can you pass laws to make people think about the consequences upon others of their own actions?

    You can pass laws that protect good samaritans from lawsuits, and even laws that penalize people who don’t offer minimal help, as many US states have.

  39. Here it is says:

    @ Brian Westley — I am not saying that ALL Chinese are atheist. From all my above posts, I am simply trying to point out the consequence of atheism. You can NOT pass laws that will elimate ALL acts of evil. But I sure do know how you can get people to think of the consequences of their actions, which is letting them know the truth. Then you wonder, “what is truth?” The US can pass laws that value good Samaritans, which is why some people think that if they were in China, they will easily be a good Samaritan. But in China, a lot of people think that you are foolish for acting on behalf of others at your own cost. Brian, can you think of why certain countries like the US can still value good Samaritans? But countries like China does not on a widespread basis? No matter how hard you try to pass laws that make people think about the consequences, you can never wipe out murder, robbery, and other forms of criminal activity from the face of this earth. Why is that so? It all comes down to understanding that the human heart is diseased because of sin. People do bad things against themselves and one another without thinking about the consequences because they think that this life is all there is and they don’t acknowledge that they ultimately have to stand before God one day and give an account of what they did while in their bodies. If people understand that whatever they do matters to God in the highest courts of heaven, then they will act for the well-being of others whether they live in a society that values or devalues good Samaritans. I am not pushing by beliefs upon people. I am simply reasoning. Let’s turn it around and ask, “why are atheists always bashing at Christians whenever Christians put a word in? Are you atheists also pushing your beliefs as well if you put it that way.” The options are before you all. You choose what you believe are perfectly free to do so, but you have to keep in mind that your choices have consequences on you and the people around you as well.

  40. Here it is says:

    You can see that certain societies value good Samaritans and others don’t. Countries like the US was founded upon Christain values and that is why they still hold laws that try to protect the fundamental dignity that human beings have a right to. However, we shall never put our hope in the law systems because the lawgivers and voters are human beings, which means that they’re not perfect. A culture that denies the Laws of God is a culture of death that devalues human beings. You can see this lawlessness surfacing in US already – the legalization of abortion. This happens because the US culture is already straying away from God. Who then shall we out our hopes on? The ever-changing tides of human opinions and approval? What’s the best option because opinions and beliefs are many. You can choose the option that is the “best.” But “best option” makes sense only when there is such a thing as the perfect standard from which you measure all other options. If you say the perfect standard for law-giving does not exist, then there is no point is saying that what is law in the US is better than what is acceptable behavior in a savage society. So the evidence points to the existence of this perfect standard or perfect moral law. But then who is the Lawgiver of this perfect moral law? This Lawgiver is God, the God of the Bible who gives His law as a light to shine in the hearts of those who will obey Him. But then there are always those who argue that there are so-called Christians or God-fearing men who commit atrocities in the name of God. I can tell you for sure that just because human beings are sinful and do stuff that does not make sense to you, it does NOT change who God is, for He is the source of all the good there is. There is a commenter who referred to radical Islamists who terrorize people in the name of religion. Here my friend is another fact that points to your “best options” to choose from. There are so many religions out there because people’s opinions are many. But the one true God, who is the the God Christains worship, is not a figment of man’s wishful thinking or imagination. He exists whether you like to think so or not, just like 2+2=4 dollars is 4 dollars even if you wish it were more than that. Again, all our posts are not straying away from the news of this poor neglected toddler because she is a victim of people’s choice to be selfish, which is a sin against God. Unless people recognize and act according to the Laws of God, all our so-called “I would have acted on behalf of this poor toddler even if I were to get fined and blamed” would get nowhere. Without recongition of God, your behavior or treatment of others will simply be reduced to what’s pragmatic and when circumstances favor good Samaritans, you will think “I saved this toddler because I’m a good person,” but when circumstances don’t value good Samaritans like in the alleys of Foshan, China, what would you do if you were presented with the option of either saving this toddler or passing her by for fear you might get judged for helping her out. But those who acknowledge God will save her because God loves the toddler and you know that you saving the toddler matter to God even if it does not matter to men. There are those who argue that they will still save the toddler and they do not need God to do so. This, my friend, I will just end by saying, “if you believe it, I can’t force you to think otherwise. Who knows what you’ll do given that hostile environment? And if you believe that you are a good person according to your definition of what a good person is, and if you still say that you will still act in the interests of others even if you see no incentive of doing so and even if there is no heaven or hell, then it’s entirely your choice.” But remember that your ideas have consequences and whatever decision you make about God and yourself will have consequences.

  41. Here it is says:

    The communists try to approach these matters from a scientific point of view. What about you atheists? From what angle do you approach this from? You say you are “moral,” but the passersby of the toddler and the communists are humans too, and you call them immoral because of their behaviors. Are you are judging them based on the moral law written within your heart…or do you define yourself as making moral decisions resulting from the impulse of the neurons within your brain? This question asks you the origin of your moral decision-making. Who are atheists anyway? Some atheists say, “I don’t believe in anything.” –> then why should I care about what you say because you don’t believe in anything anyway so nothing you say or do counts

  42. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    @Brian Westley – The Chinese official State Policy is that the country is athiest. – Chris

  43. Here it is says:

    What is moral and what is immoral? What I can tell you is that brain cells of material do not make moral decisions. They simply behave according to the laws of nature. But surely humans are different than animals. Why? Because humans make moral decisions. A human thinks or acts and if he or she does something immoral, he or she feels guilty. Now this guilty feeling is there to tell him or her what he or she ought to have done. You atheists believe that you go nowhere after you die and that humans are just random bags of molecules and chemical reactions, but atoms acts according to laws of nature, which means they simply do stuff without making an moral decisions. The laws of nature is a pattern for how the physical universe behaves. But a moral law exists to tell you what you ought to do. So a “moral atheist”, a person who denies spiritual reality, is simply an oxymoron because the morality tells people how they ought to behave, which something above and beyond physical reality. The consequence of violating a moral law is guilt and for certain people, this moral compass has been so wounded from neglect overtime that they don’t feel as guilty as they used to.

  44. Eddie says:

    The difference between religion and no religion is in this case, the girl was run over for no reason or by accident and people didn’t bother to help. In a very religious society, the girl would’ve been run over because she was of a different religion than the driver.
    What you see in this video is the bystander effect. It happened to Kitty Genovese in the USA where she was murdered and no one bothered to help, and USA (back then) was a mostly Christian country.
    What if this would’ve happened in USA or another deeply religious country ? As far as I know similar cases did happen, but it was not taped.

  45. Brian Westley says:

    Here it is:
    I am not saying that ALL Chinese are atheist. From all my above posts, I am simply trying to point out the consequence of atheism.

    I’d say you’re trying to defame all atheists by blaming atheists on the actions of 18 Chinese people, none of whose religious views are known. Have you compared the actions of people in countries with high levels of atheists, such as Sweden? Well, no. Do you point out that the US is mostly Christian and blame Christians for doing nothing while Kitty Genovese was murdered? Well, no.

    You’re simply misusing a tragedy to promote your own bigoted views.

    Chris Devonshire-Ellis:
    @Brian Westley – The Chinese official State Policy is that the country is athiest. – Chris

    And I asked YOU what YOU meant by it. Do you think all Chinese are atheists? Do you think governments can declare what all their citizens believe?

  46. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    @Brian Westley: I made a statement of fact – the Chinese government official policy is that China is athiest. What they actually mean is that the rulling party, the CCP – their policy is athiest. This impacts on how the country is run and its citizens managed.

    It is of course nonsense to suggest all Chinese people are athiest, this is a country with sizable muslim and buddhist populations for example, although interestingly, the people who practice these religions are regarded as ‘minorities’ – and consequently marginalized.
    It is not, per se, the Chinese people who are athiests, in fact, I am sure that given the choice, many would choose not to be. We have already seen the desire for spiritual guidance manifesting itself with the attraction towards subversive cults such as Falung Gong.
    However, it is the current Chinese society that is athiest. The problem is how to deal with that when we see the level of indifference, lack of compassion and fear of involvement among Chinese society as has sadly been illustrated in the case of Yue yue. Thanks – Chris

  47. Pending says:

    Religious people who make decisions and judgement according to their religion’s guidelines, do it because of that, the religious guidelines and NOT “morals”.

    More than that, I found the entire original post completely patronizing, as if in the west people are so kind to each other because of “morals”, while the truth is that it’s mostly due to the “rule of law”. If there was no punishment for various crimes people would freely do them, regardless of “morals” or “religion”.

    What China lacks first and most is RULE OF LAW and it has to be just and reasonable.

    To assume and ask people to sacrifice themselves for someone else is not reasonable, we are all human beings and we do not work in this way.

    In the eyes of the drivers he saw it in this way: if she dies, he might get away with small punishment, if she lives he might have to compensate her for the rest of her lives and it would destroy himself and his family! This is in fact the common reality in China. CDE for sure knows very well that by helping the girl the people might have been accused (if there was no camera) and perhaps their own lives and the lives of their family destroyed.

    So before you play “hollier than though”, perhaps we start with a reasonable rule of law as a starting point. Afghanistan sure has religion but no real rule of law. Is that what you are hoping for China, Sir?

  48. Pending says:

    To add to the above post:

    “True morality is secular and non-sectarian. This results in behavior that is modified by decisions that have a positive effect on society as a whole, that embrace humanity and are accepting of different lifestyles. Religious morality does not allow for behavior modification toward humanity”

    As an example, for a certain religion, certain “”religious morals”” might have a built in opinion towards other religious people and would support their conversion of their culture and beliefs or their death in some cases. Is that “moral”?

  49. Here it is says:

    @Brian Westley — I did NOT say that the US is mostly populated by Christians. And I am not defaming all atheists. Neither am I using a tragedy to promote m “bigoted” views. As I said again, why do you people always call Christians “bigoted” when they simply just put a word in. About the murder of Kitty Genovese in the US — didn’t I point out in my recent post that you can NOT eliminate evil in this world, whether in the US or Sweden? You don’t even think. As soon as a Christian gives some reasoning, you pick on us and call us “bigoted.” The toddler case is a tragedy. Now, all of us posters are trying to figure out the cause of this indifference to a hurting human being and we’re all trying to bring in solutions. Us Christians are NOT being “bigoted.” We’re simply beggars who are trying to show other beggars where the food is. Murder, indifference, and other forms of evil exist everywhere in the world, Western countries as well as Eastern countries. Again, I am not defaming atheists. Are even most people in the US Christian to begin with? No! But we sure do have law systems that adhere more to the Christian value system because of the country’s historical Christian influence. Is is because of this, that US court systems are more fair. Please do some history research before you again bash on me for being “bigoted.” Can I ask you, Brian, what you think is the problem with those passersby and what your best solution is?

  50. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    @Pending. I haven’t singled out any religion in this debate, and I agree with some of your points, especially that of religious exclusion. But then China practices that to the ultimate end, by specifically stating it is athiest, and disallowing any religious creed to influence any of its polices. May I quote your words: “In the eyes of the drivers he saw it in this way: if she dies, he might get away with small punishment, if she lives he might have to compensate her for the rest of her lives and it would destroy himself and his family! This is in fact the common reality in China. CDE for sure knows very well that by helping the girl the people might have been accused (if there was no camera) and perhaps their own lives and the lives of their family destroyed.”

    The whole situation you describe is amorality at work. That is China’s problem today. It appears to me that the rejection of religion is seen as more important than the education of moral values in China. Quid pro pro; the result is the same; it is an amoral society that finds it difficult to distinguish between right and wrong.

    The issue I have is that while I have suggested that religion can help in this, that has resoundingly been rejected in this debate. That’s OK, but it doesn’t solve the problem, and no solutions to it have yet been forthcoming other than a bland “religion isn’t the answer”. Alright then. But what is?
    Thanks – Chris

  51. Here it is says:

    I am Chinese and I know my countrymen. There’s this age-old Chinese saying, “Good things happen to good people.” My grandfather used to put others before himself. One day, he received the sad news that his son, my uncle, got a head injury in a motorcycle accident in China. It would have been an easy injury to save him from were the doctors willing to give him treatment right away. But my uncle was left for dead out in front of the hospital. Why? The doctors denied him medical care because my uncle did not have money to pay up-front! What happened to my grandpa after this incident? Did he still believe that old Chinese saying, “good things happen to good people?” But before my grandpa passed away, he believed in the Gospel of Jesus that God if he repents, God saves him and ultimately, all evil will be destroyed one day because God is good and He is mighty to save those who fear Him. We all know that sometimes, the wicked prosper, and the kind-hearted get oppressed. Perhaps this is why a lot of Chinese people no longer want to be good by acting on behalf of others because they think they lose in the end. Can you see this train of thought going through the minds of the passersby of the toddler?

  52. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    Well it’s obviously a flawed philospohy. “Good things happen to good people”.
    Yue yue was just two, look what happened to her. She didn’t even have time to be bad. – Chris

  53. Pending says:

    “I am Chinese and I know my countrymen.”

    Pardon, but I’m yet to meet one Chinese who really knows his countrymen.

    Regarding: “But before my grandpa passed away, he believed in the Gospel of Jesus that God if he repents, God saves him and ultimately, all evil will be destroyed one day because God is good and He is mighty to save those who fear Him. ”

    That’s actually another good example of what I’ve written above, that in fact the so called religious people would not act by morals but by punishment and reward.

  54. Pending says:


    I actually agree with almost everything you have written. What we disagree with is that religion is the answer. Note that “I haven’t singled out any religion in this debate”. Neither have I.
    “The whole situation you describe is amorality at work.” Absolutely. It is. If it was my daughter lying there, I would get a bat and in a similar amoral way find these people one by one. (I’m just expressing my feelings here and do not encourage anyone to do so, it would be both illegal and amoral. cough.) So what is the answer? Start with a reasonable and just rule of law that would enable the starting point for the development of society. BTW as you follow China you probably know this Bronte’s Capital blog, and might have seen this one:
    BTW 2, to my understanding there are more Christians in China than com. party members. It is inevitable that religion of some sort will take over China, people are people. It can’t be stopped. BTW 3 those “new entrants” to religion are often the least tolerant of all. OK enough 🙂

  55. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    @Pending: Well, if we have come to the conclusion that religion isn’t the answer, then how do we turn around this moral decay in China? A vague answer seems to be “rule of law” but how on earth can you legislate morality? However, lets see if our esteemed commentators on this debate can try.
    Over to you…

  56. Pending says:


    Of course it’s a vague answer, just like yours, morality is a vague and subjective issue anyhow. However your humble servant will play along and say that reversing current situation which indeed punishes those who might be helping and adding some Good Samaritan laws would be a start. In practice it will only work in a complete system. Other than that you cannot really “legislate morality”. I think I’ll end the discussion here, thanks for bringing up this interesting subject.

  57. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    Tang Hao, an Associate Professor of Political Studies at South China University has said this: “Under circumstances where members of the public are living without the education telling them to care about public affairs, without the conditions encoraging them to participate in public affairs, and without the protection of their right to free speech, there is no way they will pay attention to civil matters or take responsibility for people around them. It is not normal for us to demand that the public care about all others all of a sudden when an accident happens. In our society, civil education has been lacking and people are not encouraged to discuss public affairs politically”.
    This debate is going to run and run, and its high time the CCP listened to its own political academics.
    Again, thanks to all for contributing. It all helps towards change. – Chris

  58. Christell Lezama says:

    Do you think that religious people has the monopoly of empathy and good feelings? There are a lot of countries that are not religious that are peaceful and know the values of human rights like Finland, Japan, Norway, Denmark and Sweden for example, and you can compare those countries with the religious countries like United States (cristian) where they believe in capital death, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia (musulman) where they stone women and murder homosexuals, or Mexico (catholic) that has the highest levels of violence.

    The solution is not in forcing others to believe in God, the solution is to educate society about the value of helping and respecting each others.

  59. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    Regrettably we have learned that Yue Yue died this morning.

  60. Christell Lezama says:

    So sad. Poor little baby. It is hard to recognize that sometimes animals show better feelings than us.

  61. Lws says:

    Just love this American who is able to dissect any issue involving the US & he pulls no punches attacking all the sins of the US. For those who are unaware of this wonderful guy, let me invite you to read his consistent postings in the letter section of Asia Times where he runs a string of letters. Below is one good example of such posting…

    [Re Little Yueyue and China’s moral road, Oct 18] The recent event in China where a child was hit by a van but only one person helped is a sign that China’s emulation of Amerika is moving along quite briskly, and maybe ahead of schedule, in fact. Various reasons are being exchanged in the Chinese e-media touting perfectly sound rationales, including fear of litigation, indifference to non-family, etc.

    Universally, the Chinese are mortified at such apathy and are engaged in soul searching, seeking explanations, including the role “progress” and “prosperity” may have played. America had its infamous Kitty Genovese moment in the 60s when that young woman was stabbed and left bleeding to death for hours in a very public part of New York, which generated its own national angst about social disconnection. The Good Samaritanism that people wish everyone was capable of seems to be a function of empathy more than anything else. That virtue, the ability to vicariously experience another’s anguish, seems to be most prevalent amongst those that have recently experienced pain and suffering themselves. It is useful to recall that the Samaritan that lent his ethnic group’s name to this quality was himself a member of a shunned and reviled sect in Judea.

    It seems a given that as a society increases in material wealth and prosperity, the struggle for day-to-day subsistence living becomes a distant memory. This tends to inhibit or neutralize feelings of identification with others, especially those less fortunate economically but also in general. To be a Good Samaritan, you have to be able to think of others as Samaritans, and that’s hard to do when you’re tooling around in a your new Jaguar or Maserati.

    This neutralization of emotion has long been a feature of political and cultural life here in ubercompetitive Wonderland, where routinely the wealthy shamelessly chastise the poor, neo-cons advocate the killing of brown people overseas and throwing people from their homes out onto the streets is seen as capitalism-as-usual. That may be about to change though, as the descent of the middle class into subclass hell may provide plenty of opportunity for long term suffering and new found empathy, but we shall see.

    In the meantime, wrapped up in their big screen TVs, real estate deals and export industries, the Chinese of today are roughly where we were in the 60s, when the US was on top of the world, we were bombing brown people at will, the world revered our dollar and free market system and we thought ourselves and our auto, electronic and steel industries eternally untouchable. That separation in time, roughly 50 years, gives China a heads up about their own time frame in the sun.
    Hardy Campbell
    United States (Oct 21, ’11)

  62. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    There are times like this, I prefer to believe in a God and a Heaven than the alternative offered by the ‘science’ of athiesm. Other brothers in this regard seem to have become rather quiet when faced with mortality. I’d ask where they think Yue yue is now. I’d be interested in some explanations or observations.

  63. Jennifer says:

    To me, YueYue and the old woman are saints. YueYue’s sacrifice, hopefully, will teach a great lesson to Chinese people and they should learn to be selfless not self-centered. At the same time, the old woman shows courage because she has morality. I believe she had no education yet, she didn’t care whether she will be in trouble or not by saving YueYue.

    YueYue now is in heaven and no longer suffering any pain. RIP.

  64. angelo says:

    When the video of Yue Yue last night, I trembled. I have a four-year old daughter and as a father this is mind-boggling. If I was there, and saw it happened, I would have rushed the poor kid to the hospital as soon as she was hit. And the drivers of those vehicles which hit her, i hope it won’t happen to your kids or your loved ones because it would have been very painful. In the Philippines, my country, if you hurt a kid and people see you, there would be a tendency that you would get hurt also. If they see people stumble, they would help to get up. There are lot of robbers, thieves but if people see it they would ran after these bad people and beat them for you. This incident that happened in China, made me feel proud of my country and appreciate its people. It may not be a very safe place to live, but I can guarantee that the people are always willing to come to aid without asking them to. I wanna SHOUT: I’M SO DEEPLY HURT. Imagine my wife had to call me work of this heartless INCIDENT. On the other hand, perhaps God had allowed this incident to happen to this poor kid so that she won’t be corrupted by her heartless environment.

  65. Kieran says:

    So moral guidance through religion would help society to improve? Did religious conservatism helped the US to become a moral society? Was the bombing of Vietnam and Cambodia justified? Or Iraq? Do Americans care for those who are out of work, who are out of insurance? Do societies that claim moral superiority over other societies because of their superior religious views create peace and harmony? Do you consider yourself morally superior because you believe in God, Jesus, resurrection and maybe the rapture?

    Maybe the rat race that is called China, maybe having 1,3 billion people packed in cities and overcrowded counties calls for survival tactics. Do not bother yourself with others problems only with those that affect your immediate surroundings of work, income, family and some friends. Is that amoral? Is a surgeon performing a triage after a disaster amoral? The little girl who died is being made a poster girl for a call to religious guidance by the government. That I consider immoral.

  66. Kate says:

    Regarding where we think Yue Yue is right now…

    As an atheist, I dislike the idea of ‘living forever’, I don’t believe that we are separate to all of nature, ‘above’ all of nature and will survive further on after all of this is gone.

    I like the idea that I am part of the earth, part of the universe, and that everything I think, everything I believe, everything that makes me me – is miniscule and insignificant. You might think this is ‘sad’ but I find this comforting.

    I find it exhausting and mind-blowing to think I will exist forever, and I don’t want to.

    We are all just a part of nature.

  67. Doni says:

    Look i dont care if your religious or poor or uneducated you should have the sense to know that a child deserves a much more of a chance at life then you if you are unwilling to spend maybe 10 seconds of your time to call an ambulance or stop a car before it runs over a small child. i am 15 and i know this… get some common sense.

  68. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    @Doni – I quite agree. And I’m 51. – Chris

  69. sergio says:

    Being amoral and religion have nothing to do with each other. The author is taling rubbish here. It has everything to do with fear and the lack of legal system. No Chinese would willingly let a yound child die. The author might pride himself in a belief in God but this does not prove any point whatsoever.

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