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September 1, 2011

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Man's heroism cited amid apathy

YANG Jun would have been just another unsung hero if prosecutors hadn't looked back through police records at his daring good deed.
The 22-year-old left the scene quietly after he spotted a thief who stole a wallet from a female passenger on a bus and chased him for blocks before handling him to police in suburban Qingpu District in July.
"I just thought that was what I should do," said Yang, a furniture painter from Anhui Province who just landed a job in the city in March.
But prosecutors tracked down Yang and suggested his company honor him for his heroism. Yang's company awarded him 1,000 yuan (US$156) yesterday and his story has been widely publicized among his colleagues.
Yang is among the shrinking group of people willing to risk their own lives to stand up against crime at a time that people are criticizing mounting indifference.
On July 20, Yang saw a man reach his hand into a white shoulder bag of a young woman on a bus heading to Qingpu. Yang got off at the Zhaoxiang stop and followed the thief secretly for about 500 meters. Then the suspect surnamed Deng noticed him and started to run as Yang chased after him closely.
Finally, Deng ran into a dead end and jumped into a river in his attempt to escape, but the 40-year-old suspect swam back after he became weak in the water. While Yang was doing his utmost to catch the thief, gathered onlookers on the riverside did nothing helpful, instead standing still and watching coldly at the unfolding scene.
"No one came to help and no one called the police," said Yang, expressing disappointment.
Police arrived and captured Deng only after Yang managed to call them himself. They seized the wallet and found 2,300 yuan inside.
Previous media reports had accused some people of being indifferent to the plight of others. They are often described as cold-eyed onlookers.
In one example, on May 13 a female driver of the No. 116 bus in Baoshan District was attacked by an angry passenger.
But only an old man rebuked the attacker while others did nothing to help, camera footage showed.
"We just want to keep ourselves away from troubles," said an unnamed witness to the bus assault.


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