The role of law in addressing the good Samaritan’s dilemma: A Chinese model?

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This article begins with an account of the contexts surrounding China’s “Good Samaritan’s Dilemma”—the fear of civil liabilities as a result of a rescue attempt. It highlights how a notorious hit-and-run case in 2011 has prompted several provinces to consider Good Samaritan law—legislation aimed at encouraging altruism. In light of diverse opinions over the pros and cons of Good Samaritan law, it considers whether law should have a role to play in shaping moral behaviours. On the basis that the law has been on the books for as long as over a century in much of the Western world and parts of East Asia, this article explores how overseas experience may provide insights to China in its adaptation of Good Samaritan law. It concludes that, in China’s case, a non-punitive regime that seeks to protect and compensate Good Samaritans may help encourage the proverbial Chinese bystanders to be altruistic neighbours. Copyright © 2014 Cambridge University Press and KoGuan Law School, Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-92
JournalAsian Journal of Law and Society
Issue number1
Early online dateNov 2014
Publication statusPublished - May 2015



Lee, M. K.Y. K. (2014). The role of law in addressing the good Samaritan’s dilemma: A Chinese model? Asian Journal of Law and Society, 2(1), 55-92. doi: 10.1017/als.2014.20


  • China
  • Good Samaritan law
  • Guanxi
  • Confucianism
  • Civil society