It's evil to exploit altruism

Updated: 2013-08-09 10:03

(China Daily)

  Comments() Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

A recent news story of a little girl holding an umbrella over a scrubwoman in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, to protect her from the scorching sun touched the hearts of many netizens. But later it turned that the incident had been staged by some unscrupulous people to fulfill their aims. Such frauds to exploit people's sentiments deserves condemnation, says an article in Beijing Youth Daily. Excerpts:

When a good deed turns out to be part of a fraudulent scheme, it really hurts people and can make them indifferent to others' sufferings. For example, media reports in March said that a girl stopped by a hungry senior citizen in a street to serve him food. Soon the public was calling her "the most beautiful girl in Shenzhen". But ultimately people found out that the entire incident was part of a well-organized business plan.

Such incidents of exploiting people's feelings are unforgivable, especially when our society is already suffering from a trust crisis. If people continue to plot more such altruistic events, it can further damage social trust and shake people's belief in kindness and good deeds.

It was indeed troubling to hear the person who plotted the Shenzhen incident say that people should not reveal the truth even after finding out that it was staged, because it was intended to make citizens believe in the power of altruism. This is absurd. No one has the right to cheat people even in the name of philanthropy and humanitarianism. As economist Friedrich von Hayek said, the road to hell is usually paved by goodwill.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences issued a report recently, which showed that the public trust level in Chinese society had dropped to an alarming level. The CASS study found that the trust level was below the set baseline in quite a few cities.

Since staged altruistic events will drive the public trust level further down, we should not allow them to be played out in our society.