Photos: Life of Chen Xianmei, woman who helped Yue Yue the run-over toddler, disturbed by media circus, propaganda
She lived in peace and obscurity in the southern city of Foshan with her son, her daughter-in-law and her grandson. She worked as a part-time housekeeping maid during the day, cooked for employees at her son’s hardware store at noon, and went out to collect trash in the evening and sell it to local recyclers for a pin money. However, all of that has changed after she became the first one to lend a hand to a Chinese toddler named Yue Yue, who was brutally run over by two motor vehicles and disregarded by 18 passersby, and thereby came to national attention. While the nation is mourning over Yue Yue’s tragic death and reflecting on the callousness and cold-heartedness of Chinese people epitomized in this case and many other similar ones with remarkable spontaneity, Chen Xianmei, the women who dismissed what she did as a trifling matter, is relentlessly dogged by the press corps and propaganda officials who heavily publicize her “heroic deeds” and try to make a moral example out of her through storytelling and fanfare. (Read: 2-year-old toddler run over by two vehicles, ignored by 18 passers-by, riling up public opinion)
On October 17, four days after the hit-and-run accident, Chen Xianmei was mobbed by Chinese reporters in Foshan.
At 1:40 p.m. on October 17, Chen Xianmei, tired from handling the press, was going home for a nap, before several reporters trotted up towards her and kept bombarding her with questions.
On the evening of October 18, Chen Xianmei stood at her son’s office, wearing a drowsy look. An entire day full of intensive interviews exhausted her mind and body.
On the afternoon of October 19, three “representatives of good citizens” chosen from various circles visited Chen and “exchanged their experiences of being a good citizen during a folksy conversation.”
On the afternoon of October 19, three “representatives of good citizens” in Foshan (on Chen’s left) sat down and had a folksy conversation with her that lasted 10 minutes. They requested Chen to take pictures with them before they left.
On October 19. Foshan’s Committee for Construction of Spiritual Civilization, a government body which often launches campaigns dedicated to the purging of what it deems social ills and public promotion of exemplary models, rewarded Chen with “Consolation Money” for her heroic deeds.
An entrepreneur from a business enterprise based in Dongguan, a neighboring city, presented wads of cash worth RMB100,000 (US$15,500) to Chen Xianmei to thank her good heart, despite Chen’s multiple refusals. (Jing: According to Chinese media reports, Chen later donated money she received to Yue Yue’s parents.)
Another woman from the same company hugged Chen Xianmei.
At 2:15 p.m. on October 17, Chen Xianmei asked reporters waiting outside her home to leave, as her landlady had threatened to kick her out over the media circus.
During the interview, Chen’s cellphone kept ringing, disrupting and distracting her from the interview every now and then.
From October 15 to 18, Chen was asked to revisit the accident scene and reenact the moment she held up Yue Yue and pulled her to the roadside time and time again.
At 2 p.m. on October 17, Chen decided to take a rest at home. A cohort of reporters followed her to her home and intended to go inside and keep pressing her for answers. Chen chased them away and shut the door on them.
On October 19, representatives were dispatched from Chen’s hometown, Yangshan County of Qingyuan, Guangdong province, to thank her for winning honor for Yangshan county and making its people proud.
At 2 p.m. on October 17, Chen’s landlady could no longer tolerate the media frenzy, drove Chen out of her temporary home and went downstairs to chase reporters herself. Chen felt unfair and walked away from a reporter from Hong kong who was still pestering her.
At dusk, Chen was still surrounded by six reporters from Hong Kong. When Chen left with her grandson an hour later, reporters were still reluctant to let her go.
Tears trickled down Chen’s cheek when she was accepting interviews on October 17. Her son told reporters that talking to media at full strength for days has robbed her of good rest and led to a relapse of her eye problem. She has been having watery eyes since the spotlight was turned on her.
From October 15 to 18, Chen was asked to revisit the accident scene and reenact the moment she held up Yue Yue and pulled her to the roadside time and time again .
Selected comments from NetEase:
Please, the media, give the peaceful life back to the grannny!
Why is a people, calling for a nationwide discussion over whether old people should be helped after they fall over, in the position to talk about responsibility as a great power?Why is a country, precarious and in dire need for stability maintenance everywhere, in the position to talk about putting the people first?
On the afternoon of October 19, three “representatives of good citizens” chosen from various circles visited Chen and “exchanged their experiences of being a good citizen during a folksy conversation.” !!!!!! Exchanged their experiences of being a good citizen?????!!!!!
Representatives were dispatched from Chen’s hometown, Yangshan County of Qingyuan, Guangdong province, to thank her. Why it sounds so sick? Did any one of you look at her in the eye when she was collecting trash?
What everyone should be doing is now hyped by reporters joining the eager rush. What is wrong with this society?
Salute to the old aunt. The media, enough is enough!
Don’t make her, at such an old age, come off as a motivational speaker. She could not remember those long scripts by heart. Provide her with some financial aid and leaver her in peace.
Why it looks as if she’d done something wrong
It amounts to psychological torture. And they just don’t leave her alone.
Conclusion can be drawn from this that it is not easy to be a good citizen. If I were her, I wouldn’t have done such a good thing.
Tragedy for the party and the country! It should have been a normal good deed, but has been blown out of proportion by the media and official to the extent that it makes people sick. Why the society is lacking people like Aunt Chen? Has anyone thought about it? The government ever reflects upon that? Do reporters and officials dare deny that there is a self-serving element?Hope it will not be deleted! Thanks.
This is what they call “A good act will be well rewarded?” Was there anyone revolving around the granny when she was quietly picking garbage on the roadside?! This must be the flip side of the fickleness of the world.
A bunch of extremely ugly people. Wearing fake smiling masks, some of them even with a cigarette dangling from their lips. These people are the real cold-blooded animals, because they all assume helping people is a rare and extraordinary thing to do.
This is the reality of Chinese media: they only care about their personal interests at the cost of hurting others. They drive people nuts like flies!
When you are a physically perfectly normal person landed in a crowd of erectile dysfunction patients, you will find all of a sudden that you’ve become the alpha male. This is what has happened to Aunt Chen.
A perfectly normal move appears so lofty with the frigging cold society acting as a foil…Isn’t it sad?
Our countrymen just so love to set up moral leaders.
Leave her alone. Stop pestering her.
The media, you have really run out of story ideas. You want to tire an old person to death!!!!!! Sicko!!!!!
Here they come! Those officials who love to put on a show. Chen Xianmei should have hidden away.