Chinese Law Test: Would You Rather Rescue Your Mom or Girlfriend in a Fire?

Hundreds of Chinese test-takers aspiring to be the nation’s future judges and lawyers were posed with an especially sensitive question during their national judicial examination this year.

The National Judicial Exam spans over the course of two days and takes place once a year. The exam scenario stirring online debate asked:

“If forced to choose, would you save your mother or your girlfriend from a burning building?”

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The question was categorized under “crimes of omission” and included a series of other scenarios including failing to save a drowning child and allowing a friend to drink poisoned coffee. Those applicants who passed the test were granted permission to practice law in China, according to the BBC.

China’s Ministry of Justice later released the answer they deemed as correct. According to the Ministry, test takers should have chosen filial duty over romantic love. Those who chose to save their girlfriends over their mothers would have committed a “crime of non-action.”

Chinese netizens have taken to the internet to criticize the question and its official answer. One internet user stated:

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“It is ridiculous to equate the obligation to support one’s parents with the obligation to rescue others in an emergency.”

Another person noted the complexity of such a scenario:

“According to the law, a son must save his mother. But the law does not say whether he has to save his mother while other people are also in danger.”

Others were in agreement with Chinese law, as one man declared:

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“Girls are everywhere, but I only have one mum.”

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