GUANGZHOU - Many psychologists say that the passers-by who did not stop to help a little girl who had been hit this past week by two vehicles must shoulder much of the blame for her current condition.
At the same time, though, they are calling on parents to pay more attention to their children, especially when they are in industrial and commercial places.
Yue Yue, the 2-year-old girl who was hit, began to slip into a worse state on Tuesday night, forcing workers at the hospital where she is being treated to go to extra lengths to try to save her, said Su Lei, director of the intensive care unit at the General Hospital of the Guangzhou Military Command of the People's Liberation Army. Doctors had previously deemed the girl to be brain dead.
After she had been hit, 18 people walked past her without coming to her rescue. Help finally arrived when Chen Xianmei, a 57-year-old garbage collector, moved her to the side of the road and shouted for her parents.
The indifference of the passers-by is, without a doubt, partly responsible for the girl's current condition, said Annaliza Chan, a licensed psychology counselor in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province.
"But her parents are also to blame for neglecting to care for her. Why was the little girl alone on the road?"
Yue Yue's parents, who hail from Liaocheng in Shandong province, run a small shop in a Foshan hardware market containing more than 2,000 businesses.
"The girl often played alone outside of her parents' shop," said a shop owner who would only state his surname, Du.
"At times, her parents would not come back for her for about an hour."Most people who do business here are from other provinces and regions. They don't have time to look after their children while they are doing business."
The hardware market, a place whose small roads can often be seen conveying various vehicles, has few accommodations for small children.
"Children like Yue Yue often play or walk alone there," Du said. "It is very dangerous."
As a result, Chan called for parents and society to pay more attention to children's safety.
In recent years, Guangzhou has seen an increase in the number of children who have died after being neglected by their parents.
In a typical case, a 2-year-old boy was killed after falling into a river in Guangzhou's Baiyun district on July 6 this past year. At the time, his mother was working on the Internet at a cybercafe nearby.
On Sept 21, a boy was killed after being knocked down by cargo that his father was unloading at a printing plant in the city's Haizhu district.
"The parents' lack of care was blamed for these unfortunate events," she said.
Lao Yufeng, a psychology teacher at the Nanwu Primary School in Guangzhou, attributed Yue Yue's accident to her parents' neglect.
"The parents are also responsible for the accident," she said. "Beyond calling for parents to pay more attention, we should ensure school children undergo safety instruction."
Yue Yue's rescuer, Chen Xianmei, has meanwhile left Foshan for her hometown, Guangdong province's Qingyuan.
"My family's lives, especially my mother's, have been greatly disturbed by this accident," Yangcheng Evening News quoted Chen's son as saying on Wednesday.
"Please stop asking her why she did this. We hope her life will go back to being the way it was before this."
In recent days, Chen has been bewildered by the large number of requests for media interviews that she has received. Critics meanwhile have accused her of helping the girl merely out of a desire for publicity.
Yue Yue's mother collapsed again on Wednesday after she had learned that the girl's situation was worsening.
Donations, along with flowers, fruit and toys, continued to pour in for Yue Yue on Wednesday.
A China Daily reader in Britain, who asked for a way to contact the girl's family, said: "I know that this incident and the articles have touched many people's hearts and who just want to do something. Although money cannot make up for the pain which Yue Yue's parents must be feeling, hopefully it can contribute in some small way and show the family how much others care."