Sharing an accident

The most heatedly discussed topic recently on Chinese Microblog was a fire accident. On April 14th, a fire accident happened in an apartment building in Guangzhou, China caused one person died. The fire accident itself was grave but not a startling news. The point that made this accident so widely-discussed was a 42-seconds video clip about this fire accident.

The video clip recorded the last 42 seconds of the later died person who were screaming and asking for help on the fenced window of his apartment. The scream was so desperate that provoked a lot people on the Internet. Almost immediately, the person who shoot this video, Li, was chased down by angry people on the Internet. Overwhelming critiques and insults were pointed towards Li. Guangdong Fire Department’s official Microblog account reposted this video and consecutively posted 5 microblogs commenting on this issue and blaming Li for being cold-blooded and cruel to the accident. Then Guangdong police department did investigation with Li and asked him to delete the video. All of Li’s social media accounts were blocked down one day after the video’s wide spread. His family and child were also contacted by media and angry people.

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However, Li said he was not the one whom should be blamed on. He revealed that at first, he tried to help the person. But his position was so far from the fire (we can see it from the picture). Even if he could be there to help, he was not able to break the metal fence. Li asserted he tried all means but still could not help the person. Then Li recorded this accident. Besides, it was not him who posted this video online. He firstly just sent it to his friends via message. The text he sent along with the video was “Life is so vulnerable. I wanted to save him but I did not have tools to help. He died.” The privately shared video ended up being wide spread on the Internet.

Most of people on the Internet blamed Li for doing nothing but recording. There are also some people expressing their understandings to Li. They said, it’s understandable for Li to protect himself before helping others. Li’s life was affected by this video and Li is quite confused now. Taking photos and sharing became the first reaction for us when encountering a startling event. It’s hard to judge Li’s actions for sharing such a tragedy. But this is sad: a person who wanted to help ended up being blamed. Maybe the mistake he made is not being aware of the pressure of public opinions. He said he could be a hero if he saved the person, but he was definitely not the bad guy who killed the person.

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