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May 10, 2013

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City ponders law to award, protect good Samaritans

CITY legislators are considering a law to award and protect people who have risked their own safety to help others in danger.

They said the proposed law is a bid to encourage more acts by good Samaritans and build a positive environment against indifference.

The law was proposed by the Shanghai Politics and Law Commission, which conducted a two-year survey on the issue.

Shanghai presently only has regulations to award and protect good Samaritans, which means they are not always enforced.

The highest award for a good Samaritan is now set at 10,000 yuan (US$1,631) with compensation set at 500,000 yuan if a person dies while trying to help someone in trouble. Of the compensation, 250,000 yuan is covered by the insurance company and 250,000 yuan is paid by the government and other social organizations.

"These amounts are below the national average," said Gu Jiming, deputy inspector with the commission, at a media briefing about making the metropolis a safer place.

The future law may also include clauses to exempt good Samaritans from responsibility in some extreme cases in which injuries or deaths occur to those they help or fight against.

Under the current legal system, those standing up to protect victims can be liable for compensation or go to jail for injuring perpetrators of crimes.

"Given the city's fast development, the standards should improve," Gu said, adding that the commission will establish a special foundation for good Samaritans who have sustained injuries while saving others.

The foundation will be made up of employees from government sectors and social organizations. It will be responsible for raising funds, award ceremonies and promoting the deeds of good Samaritans.

"With more money pouring into the fund, we can invest more in insurance to increase compensation for heroes and cover their medical bills," said Zhu Liming, an official with the commission.

Zhu said around 1,500 people have received awards for their bravery. Some jumped into a river to save drowning people while others helped police catch criminal suspects.

Some 20 heroes and heroines will be awarded today at an award ceremony held by the commission.

Last month, Zhu Ping, a taxi driver, earned the moniker "Brother Belt" after he stopped a bank robber by whipping him with his belt in Pudong.


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