Incidents demonstrating the bystander effect, wherein citizens fail to come to the aid of strangers in need, are getting much press in China.
On Thursday of last week, a 20-year-old woman was stabbed to death by a man in an alleyway as a resident of the building watched from a window above, according to Shanghaiist. The witness of the crime, a Dongguan resident, watched the gruesome murder scene and recorded it with a phone instead of using it to call for help.
The bystander effect, a term often learned in psychology classes, refers to the phenomenon where people fail to help a victim in need because they assume others who are present will offer assistance.
The video was uploaded online shortly afterwards, showing the young woman screaming in agony on the ground as she bled to death. Sina reported that by the time an ambulance arrived to her aid, the victim had succumbed to her knife wounds.
Though the witness of the murder failed to respond, another bystander saw the man fleeing the alley and reported it to police. The culprit was consequently arrested by police, who reported that the suspect was the victim’s boyfriend. He had apparently suspected her to be cheating.
The news is alarming given the number of recent attacks that have been reported in China as of late. Earlier this month, a woman was attacked by a man outside her door at a Beijing hotel while a hotel staff member was present.