On The American Spectator, Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg looks at the death of Wang Yue, a Chinese toddler run over — twice — in a public market while passersby continued on their way.
Accidents happen. But what made little Wang Yue’s death a matter for intense public discussion was the fact that nearly 20 people simply walked by and ignored her plight as she lay bleeding in the gutter.
What, hundreds of Chinese websites, newspapers and even state media outlets are asking, does this say about Chinese society? Have Chinese people lost all sense of concern for others in the midst of the scramble for wealth unleashed by China’s long march away from economic collectivism? One local official summarized the collective angst by stating: “We should look into the ugliness in ourselves with a dagger of conscience and bite the soul-searching bullet.”
Gregg points to widespread business-government corruption as a major contributor to China’s moral crisis:
The problem, from the perspective of China’s party-government-military elites, is such soul-searching may lead increasing numbers of Chinese to conclude that the circumstances surrounding Wang Yue’s death are symptomatic of deeper public morality problems confronting China, some of which could significantly impede its economic development.
One such challenge is widespread corruption. By definition, corruption doesn’t easily lend itself to close study. Its perpetrators are rarely interested in anyone studying their activities. Few question, however, that there’s a high correlation between corruption and widespread and direct government involvement in the economy. The more regulations and “state-business” partnerships you have (and China has millions of the former and thousands of the latter), the greater the opportunities for government cadres to extract their personal pound of flesh as the price of doing business.
Read “China’s Morally Hollow Economy” on the website of The American Spectator.