2017-11-21 12:13:23

A man in eastern China has received a rather unusual reward for his recent display of heroism: a lifetime supply of fish heads.

A local business in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, offered Lin Xinting unlimited free fish heads at a local restaurant for saving four people who found themselves in danger of drowning over the weekend when their car plunged into scenic Qiandao Lake, Hangzhou Daily reported Tuesday.

Lin, who works for e-commerce giant Alibaba, told the newspaper that he reacted as soon as he spotted a minivan get rammed by a pickup truck and start skidding down a slope toward the lake. Li dove into the water, swam to the vehicle, and pulled the driver and passengers, one of whom was reportedly pregnant, from the windows of the sinking wreck.

“There was no time for me to think or be scared,” Lin said. “The fastest thing I could do was save lives.”

Every year in China, an estimated 700 people are killed each day in traffic accidents, according to the World Health Organization. However, witnesses are often reluctant to jump into action as first responders, and it’s not unusual to see victims lying in the street surrounded by a crowd of onlookers before paramedics arrive.

In June, a woman in central China’s Henan province died after being run over first by one vehicle, and then — after lying in the street for several minutes — another. On Chinese social media, a video of the incident, in which pedestrians can be seen standing idly by, ignited heated debate on the issue of the “bystander effect” as it has come to be defined in China: namely, when witnesses fail to help people in need for fear of being blamed or held legally responsible for causing whatever harm befell them.

In an effort to promote more general compassion, China enacted a good Samaritan law in October that grants legal protections to first responders, preventing them from being held liable to the people they help. Cities like Shenzhen and Shanghai, however, had already introduced their own versions of the law in 2013 and 2016, respectively.

As early as 2015, Lin’s employer, Alibaba, offered a one-year, 3-yuan ($0.45) insurance policy whereby people who became victims of good Samaritan scams could receive up to 20,000 yuan toward their legal fees.

Contributions: Qian Zhecheng; editor: David Paulk.

(Header image: A dish of fish heads from Qiandao Lake is served in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, Nov. 27, 2014. Jin Tongzi/IC)