Why Shanghai Subway Passengers Ran Away From Man Who Fainted

Surveillance video released Wednesday shows passengers on a Shanghai subway car running for the doors after a man fainted. Why did they bolt?

Why Shanghai Subway Passengers Ran Away From Man Who Fainted

If a stranger fainted right in front of you, your first move might be to try to help them. 

But passengers on board a subway car in Shanghai earlier this month had a very different reaction. And it was all caught on camera.

Check out this surveillance footage released Wednesday by CCTV. You can see a man suddenly slump over in his seat. And as he rolls to the floor, his fellow passengers bolt for the train's door.

According to a tweet from People's Daily, China, the subway car was empty within 10 seconds, and the unconscious passenger was left alone on the ground.

If you watch the rest of that bizarre footage, you can see the man who fainted regain consciousness, looking confused as a new wave of passengers boards the train and subway employees arrive to investigate the incident.

After the video's release, several major news outlets criticized the passengers' skittish reaction to the incident, with some critics even blaming the city of Shanghai as a whole for being too unfriendly.

But a blogger told the South China Morning Post that response could have something to do with the increasing number of alleged terrorist attacks in Yunnan and Xinjiang provinces in recent weeks.

"People have been strained and [are a bundle of] nerves nowadays. ... In the closed space of a subway train, a stranger's abrupt collapse ... can trigger every frightened person to flee from the scene."

One of the most terrifying attacks happened at a train station in Yunnan province back in March. Men dressed in black and armed with knives burst into the station and began stabbing people at random. (Video via Arirang)

But the subway panic in Shanghai, according to some observers, is just the most recent example of public reluctance in China to help others.  

strikingly similar situation on a subway in Guangzhou back in June sparked panic when a passenger fainted and caused others to rush out of the train. Six passengers were hurt in the chaos.

And the 2011 case of a 2-year-old girl in Guangdong province who was hit by two vehicles and ignored by at least 18 people before someone helped her stirred a massive debate over common decency. (Video via TVS)

To combat this type of behavior, the city of Shenzhen implemented China's first Good Samaritan law last year, which aimed to protect people from being subject to liability while trying to help others.

China has experienced several high-profile cases in which those trying to assist others in need were sued after their efforts didn't succeed.

As for this most recent incident, the identity of the man who fainted is still unclear, and his condition is currently unknown.