Is mother’s act wor­thy of award ?

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS -

ManyWestern coun­tries re­ward good Sa­mar­i­tans for their deeds and en­cour­age peo­ple to help those in need. They also give awards (some­times in cash) to peo­ple for their brav­ery. In China, too, most of the prov­inces, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and au­ton­o­mous re­gions have their own lo­cal reg­u­la­tions for re­ward­ing peo­ple who come to the help of oth­ers with­out think­ing of their own safety.

Zhao’s mother showed ex­em­plary courage in her at­tempt to save her daugh­ter, so the court’s rul­ing should fol­low Bei­jing mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s reg­u­la­tion on acts of brav­ery. Un­like some other coun­tries, China does not ex­clude close rel­a­tives from the group of peo­ple who de­serve awards for acts of brav­ery, al­though it de­fines a coura­geous vol­un­teer as “some­one who helps fight crimes or curb nat­u­ral dis­as­ters”, which is the prin­ci­ple most of China’s lo­cal reg­u­la­tions fol­low.

Lo­cal leg­is­la­tures have worded the reg­u­la­tion this way to en­cour­age more peo­ple to fight crimes and come to the aid of oth­ers need­ing help.

Zhao’s re­quest that her mother be de­clared a “jus­tice-up­hold­ing vol­un­teer” may be re­jected, not be­cause of the mother-daugh­ter re­la­tion­ship, but be­cause a tiger

MEdi­tor’s Note: On July 23, a wo­man sur­named Zhao got out of a car in Badal­ingWildlife Park in Bei­jing and was at­tacked by a tiger. Her mother, who rushed out of the car to save her, died af­ter be­ing mauled by other tigers. Zhao mirac­u­lously sur­vived the at­tack. Re­cently, she filed a law­suit against the park, seek­ing com­pen­sa­tion of 1.54 mil­lion yuan ($222,576) and re­quest­ing the au­thor­i­ties to be­stow the ti­tle of “jus­tice-up­hold­ing vol­un­teer” on her mother for her brav­ery, spark­ing a de­bate on­line. A me­dia out­let con­ducted an on­line sur­vey, in which 2,393 peo­ple, or 89 per­cent of the re­spon­dents, said her re­quest was un­rea­son­able, while 294 sup­ported her. Fol­low­ing are two views on Zhao’s ap­peal: at­tack is nei­ther a crime nor a nat­u­ral disas­ter. Of course, her mother’s act was coura­geous and in­stinc­tive and the State could still honor her in other ways. Mao Lixin, a lawyer in Bei­jing-based Shangquan Lawyers’ Of­fice any peo­ple say Zhao put her­self and her en­tire fam­ily in dan­ger by get­ting out of the car in the wildlife park. So rash was what she did that many peo­ple have op­posed ev­ery­thing she has said and laughed at what­ever re­quests she has made.

She did some­thing dread­fully rash in the park so she should be re­spon­si­ble for its con­se­quences. But peo­ple have no rea­son to be an­gry with her mother, be­cause she was an in­no­cent vic­tim in the tragedy.

When the tiger at­tacked Zhao, she in­stinc­tively rushed to her daugh­ter’s aid. She may not get the ti­tle of “jus­tice-up­hold­ing vol­un­teer”, be­cause a tiger at­tack is nei­ther a crime nor a nat­u­ral disas­ter, but that does not change the fact that she was an ex­cep­tion­ally brave mother and de­serves to be rec­og­nized as one. It is un­der­stand­able that peo­ple are an­gry with Zhao for what she did, but they should not put her mother in the same cat­e­gory.

Be­sides, Zhao did act rashly by get­ting off the car in the wildlife park. How­ever, her ap­peal to get due recog­ni­tion for her mother’s brav­ery is a ra­tio­nal act. So her law­suit should be judged in le­gal terms, not in terms of the rash­ness she dis­played in the park. Zhang Zhoux­i­ang, a writer at China Daily


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