Traffic police post gory clip on Internet to educate public

14:35, April 01, 2011      

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It looks like an R-rated gruesome thriller -- pedestrians being knocked over by racing vehicles, cars ramming into each other and crushing passengers inside.

The 12-minute video, however, is no fiction but a compilation of surveillance camera footage. Traffic police in an eastern Chinese city posted it on line to alert the public about the dangers of careless and reckless driving.

By Friday morning, the clip had received more than 4 million hits on the country's popular video-sharing site since it was posted on March 29, triggering a flood of reactions ranging from alarm to ire.

China's roads remain the world's deadliest with about 60,000 road accident deaths each year. According to the latest available statistics released by the Ministry of Public Security, 27,000 people were killed in 99,000 road accidents in the first half of 2010.

Tang Jiachun, a police official in the city of Heze, Shandong Province, said the city's traffic police compiled the footage of accidents on Heze's roads, most of which happened in the second half of last year.

Tang said the video was to educate the public by alarming them.

Part of the video had also been aired by the city's television channel.

"In the past, the public were unmoved if we just played the education CD issued by the provincial or national police authorities," Tang said. "So we decided to be a bit more innovative by making a video of real scenes."

The police added subtitles to each of the accident scenes, identifying the time and place of each accident and explaining the causes.

The preface of the video clip goes: 99 percent of these accidents were caused by people violating traffic rules. Please cherish life and drive safely.

"It's absolutely brutal! But only because it is so does it alert the public," said an Internet user named Zisefengling.

"The police should have done this earlier to raise public awareness of traffic violations," said another one named Daliangtaoshao.

Road accidents have surged in China over the past few years as more and more Chinese get behind the wheel. Fatal accidents caused by speeding and drunk driving as well as hit-and-runs have particularly enraged the public.

Last year, a drunk 23-year-old hit-and-run driver gained nationwide notoriety by reportedly shouting "Sue me if you dare, my father is Li Gang."

To clamp down on the rising traffic violations, China's top legislature in February passed revisions to the Criminal Law, making actions that severely harm public interests, including drunk driving and speeding, a criminal offense.

Li Qiming,the 23-year-old at the center of "my father is Li Gang" case, was sentenced to six years in prison for the hit-and-run that left one woman dead and another injured.

But Heze police's latest initiative also drew criticism for publicizing explicit gory scenes without considering the victims' privacy.

"The police should get consent from the victims' families first," said an Internet user named Sinian. "They must feel sad revisiting the death scenes of their loved ones."

Source: Xinhua
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