Wednesday, news broke of a teenager in China who was lured by a pregnant woman pretending to be in distress, only to later be assaulted and murdered by the woman and her husband. The story hit local Chinese media a day before the southern city of Shenzhen rolled out a new “Good Persons Law,” which protects those who opt to be a Good Samaritan and help others. The episode will likely fuel China’s growing phobia of helping strangers.
According to local news source iFeng, the 17-year-old girl, identified in the media as Mei, was on her way home in the city of Jiamusi, in the northeastern province Heilongjiang, when she passed by a pregnant woman who the media identified as Tan, who had fallen down in the street. Tan asked Mei to help her up and get back to her nearby home. After arriving at Tan’s house, her husband welcomed Mei into the home and offered her a yogurt which he had spiked with sleeping pills. Thinking the drugs had already taken effect, Tan’s husband attempted to rape Mei. Mei, who was still conscious, was able to fight off the husband. The couple, however, fought back and eventually killed Mei using a blanket to smother her.
According to the couple’s neighbors, the two had divorced after Tan was “caught in bed with another man.” Hoping to win back her ex-husband, Tan vowed to “find him a virgin” to have sex with, to even the score. Local officials launched an investigation after Mei’s family reported her missing, and discovered surveillance footage of Mei helping Tan from the street and walking to the apartment. Later footage showed the pregnant Tan and a man, presumably her husband, leaving the building with a large suitcase before loading it in a car and driving away. Authorities arrested the couple at which point the woman confessed, revealing the details of the murder but withholding specifics of where the body had been disposed.
Such violent crimes can only contribute to the growing concern that being a Good Samaritan in China will only lead to trouble. In order to combat such fears, Shenzhen instated the country’s first law aiming to protect people doing good deeds for strangers from being sued or being liable, something that happened in 2006 when an elderly woman sued a man for medical expenses after helping her up after taking a tumble. Unfortunately such a law would still have been ineffective in protecting Mei. Many online have sounded off, verbally crucifying the couple for what they have done not only to Mei, but also for hurting the general cause.
“A pair of devils, let them burn in hell for what they did to her and to people they have scared from being good,” one blogger said on Weibo, China’s most popular social media platform. “They deserve death. They have polluted our social atmosphere,” another added.