National anguish over toddler's death

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 October, 2011, 12:00am


The death yesterday of a two-year-old who was ignored by more than a dozen passers-by after she was badly injured when two drivers ran her over in Foshan, Guangdong, triggered an outpouring of grief and widespread soul-searching on the mainland.

Wang Yue, known to her family as Yueyue, died at 12.32am in the Guangzhou Military District General Hospital from severe multiple organ failure and brain damage.

Dr Su Lei, head of intensive care at the hospital, told a brief press conference early yesterday that the hospital had done its best to save her life.

Yueyue's parents could not be contacted. Hospital officials said the parents were devastated.

Guangdong party boss Wang Yang told a high-level provincial meeting that the tragedy should be a 'wake-up call' for society and that such an incident should never be allowed to occur again.

'We should look at the ugliness in ourselves with a dagger of conscience and bite the soul-searching bullet,' he said.

Yueyue's death became the most discussed topic online yesterday. Million of messages condemned the negligence that led to her death and reflected on the lessons that had to be learned.

'The girl used her small and short life to wake up the conscience of the Chinese people,' a posting by one internet user said. 'What else is greater than this and what else is more despicable than this?'

Many said that although the economy had powered ahead in recent decades, the country was ethically impoverished.

Yueyue was struck in an alley outside her parent's shop in Foshan, first by a minivan and then a truck. Eighteen people passed her as she lay bleeding in the road but none went to her aid until an elderly woman scavenger pulled her aside and then helped to locate her mother.

The accident, on October 13, triggered a national outcry when surveillance footage of the incident was posted online two days later.