Bystander's clip embodies society's indifference: analysts
A video clip of a man trapped in a fire in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province has gone viral, while analysts pointed out that the clip demonstrates the indifferent mindset of current Chinese society.
The 42-second video, filmed by Li (pseudonym) on April 14 in the Huadu district of Guangzhou, shows a man crying for help while he stands trapped in a burning building behind a barred window, the Beijing-based Legal Daily newspaper reported Saturday.
The Fire Corps of Guangdong Province released five posts on its official Sina Weibo account on Friday and Saturday confirming that the man in the video had died in the accident and blaming the outcome on the video and its author, making the incident a hot topic on Chinese social networks.
"We can do much more than standing outside to watch," the fire corps said in a post.
A preliminary investigation showed that the man died as the result of his own act of arson after a conflict with his family, Guangzhou-based newspaper New Express Daily reported.
Li later argued that he had tried to save the man in the video but failed because he was too far away to reach the man in time. He also plans to move away from Huadu district after the video he uploaded to his WeChat group chat grew into a heated topic, news site thepaper.cn reported Sunday.
Around 14,000 online posts hashtagged "fire photographer's cruel 42 seconds" have received more than 16.4 million clicks on Sina Weibo, and many users have left angry comments blaming Li.
"There is no law demanding that common people have the responsibility to save others in fires, but it is the moral obligation of people to help others," an official from a fire corps in Beijing told the Global Times on Sunday.
"Modern devices such as smartphones have made it possible to record and spread information in a short time," He Hui, vice director of the Public Relations and Public Opinion Institute at the Communication University of China, told the Global Times.
"Meanwhile, people tend to record more and express themselves to gain attention from others as a form of self-aggrandizement," he said.
"People often see the events around them as external things and prefer to comment on them and spread those comments around, instead of participating in solving the problems or contributing their abilities," He noted.
He added that inadequate social security mechanisms make people more concerned about their personal interests, which may be damaged by participating in such events.
"It is the unfairness and injustice of our society that create such an indifferent response in people," Zhou Xiaozheng, a sociology professor with the Renmin University of China, noted.