Urban heroes

Captura de pantalla 2014-07-17 a las 22.00.09

It’s becoming very rare to read about heroic citizens helping out victims in the midst of an aggression. In many Western cities, aggressors act with impunity, perhaps due to increasing judicial leniency, perhaps because aggressions are more and more violent and examples of acts of heroism ending badly abound.

Therefore, I was surprised to learn about this brave 64-year-old Shanghainese bank cleaner, Gu Jinfang, who did not hesitate for a second to wield her mop at a 35-year-old thief, in order to help capturing him. The burglar had run up huge debts betting on the World Cup, and held a hostage with a knife he had just taken from a nearby restaurant. It would be interesting to know about the train of thought or the value system of this amazing woman that led to taking such a bold action against the attacker.

Shanghai is particularly well known for being safe. The concept of a bad neighbourhood should be re-thought altogether since here it has no similarity whatsoever with what we understand by that in the West. On the other hand, Chinese assaulters sometimes remind me of the bicycle thieves in Vittorio De Sica’s masterpiece. One can easily be moved by and have an emotional attachment with the assaulter, especially knowing the kind of punishment that he might receive for such an offense.

To see the news footage on CCTV, please click here: http://news.cntv.cn/2014/07/15/VIDE1405422106010328.shtml


Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

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