China Just Passed a Law Making it Legal For People to Help Strangers

Shanghai’s Good Samaritan Law, giving legal protection to citizens when helping strangers, has taken effect on Tuesday.

The legislation encourages people to become “Good Samaritans” by granting legal immunity even if their efforts result to more harm. It was drafted in September and passed by the City Congress in July.

According to the law, citizens should first call 120, the emergency hotline, in the event of such situation. They can then carry out first aid but only under the guidance of emergency operators, Shanghai Daily reported.

Measures delivered should be based on the situation and the aider’s own abilities, the outlet said. For instance, those trained to use automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) can do so when attending to strangers showing signs of heart attack. AEDs are reportedly installed in public areas.

With fears of getting sued, citizens in China have preferred ignoring needy strangers than providing assistance, Shanghaiist said.

This year’s World Giving Index supports this claim, as China turned out to be the least generous. Only 24% of respondents in the country helped a stranger in the previous month, way behind 81% of Iraqis who acted out of kindness.

The mainland’s first Good Samaritan Law came into effect in Shenzhen back in 2013. It was formally called the “Good Samaritans’ Rights Protection Regulation of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone”, South China Morning Post noted.

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