Punish 'blackmailers'

Updated: 2014-01-10 09:15

(China Daily)

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A man in Guangdong province committed suicide this month. Before death he insisted that an elderly man he helped tried to extort money by accusing him of knocking him down. If there is truly an extortion, this tragic incident shows the rather ugly moral decline that has taken place in recent years, says an article in Changsha Evening News. Excerpts:

That the man felt he had to resort to suicide to clear his name is a weight that society cannot bear. If it is proved the man was wronged, his family has the right to ask for harsh moral condemnation against the blackmailer.

But moral condemnation alone is far from enough, if it is the only cost of blackmailing others, it is too small and connives with such shameless acts, and will only lead to more cases in the future and further accelerate society's moral decline.

If the elderly man is truly a blackmailer, he should shoulder the legal responsibility for the man's death, as he will have driven a good Samaritan to suicide because of his unreasonable demand.

Of course, if that is the case, it would be up to the dead man's family to decide whether to sue the elderly man and the law to determine the legal liability he should bear for his actions.

Helping those who fall to the ground in public areas is a moral issue, so blackmail in such instances is always handled from a moral perspective. This means that in similar tragedies, there is no law or relevant department to punish the blackmailer, as well as no real deterrent to stop people from blackmailing others in this way.