A 42-second video clip showing a man crying for help while he stands trapped in a burning building in Guangzhou has stirred up controversy on the Internet.
Analysts have pointed out that the clip demonstrates the current indifferent mindset of the average Chinese citizen. However, Li (a pseudonym), the man who filmed the clip, argued that his first instinct had been to try to save the man in the video, but he had failed because he was too far away to reach the man in time.
The Fire Corps of Guangdong province made five posts on their official Sina Weibo account on Friday and Saturday, confirming that the man in the video had died in the accident and blaming the outcome on the video and its author.(Weibo/File Corps of Guangdong province)
Li said he was sleeping when the fire broke out. A loud banging on his door woke him. His first reaction was to rush to the roof of his residential building to assess the situation — not to film it with his cell phone.
"I saw the man crying for help when I got to the roof. At first, I picked up a bucket to help put out the fire, but I was too far away to make a difference or to reach the man," Li said.
When he saw that there was nothing he could do to save the man, he took out his cell phone and began to record the situation. He said that his legs were shaking as he filmed the fire. After, he rushed downstairs into a crowd of onlookers, but they had reached the same conclusion as Li: there was nothing they could do.
"Was I wrong to film the fire with my phone?" Li wondered aloud. "If I managed to save the man, then I would have been a hero. But if I failed, I might have been seriously hurt in the process."
After he uploaded the video to WeChat, a string of posts on the fire department's Weibo account began blasting the bystander who had shot the video for not doing more to help. However, many people defended the video, arguing that the person who filmed it had no way to help and should not be subjected to so much blame and vitriol.
Li is now planning to move away from Huadu district, where he currently lives. "I do not want my family be disturbed," Li said.