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China hails woman who rescued bleeding toddler left for dead

By the CNN Wire Staff
October 19, 2011 -- Updated 0903 GMT (1703 HKT)
  • Two hit-and-run drivers rammed into the 2-year-old last week
  • In the video, Chen Xianmei moves the baby to safety
  • "I just wanted to save the girl," she says

Beijing (CNN) -- Money rewards are coming in for a woman who rescued a bleeding toddler left for dead last week by multiple passersby in southern China.

Two hit-and-run drivers rammed into Wang Yue, 2, one after another, as she walked on a narrrow street in Foshan.

More than a dozen people walked, cycled or drove past as she lay bleeding in a busy market, sparking a global outcry on the state of morality in a fast-changing society.

Wang is in critical condition, her brain showing little activity despite earlier subtle movements in the lower body, said her mother, Qu Feifei.

China: Hit-and-run video sparks outcry
Good Samaritan laws in China

But despite the many villains in the story, it has also turned the spotlight on an unlikely hero: A 58-year-old scavenger.

In the video that has sparked outrage globally, Chen Xianmei moves the baby to safety, becoming an instant symbol of understated decency in a nation analysts say is obsessed with climbing the economic ladder.

"I didn't think of anything at the time," Chen said Sunday. "I just wanted to save the girl."

Two government offices in Guangdong province, where the hit-and-run occurred, offered the Good Samaritan a total of 20,000 yuan (US $3,135), according to state-run Xinhua news agency.

Wang's mother has said she does not understand the behavior of the passersby, but wants to focus on the positive.

"Granny Chen represents the best of human nature," she said of her daughter's rescuer. "It's the nicest and most natural side of us."

On Sina Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter, the story continued to be the No. 1 topic after generating more than 4.5 million posts along with a "stop apathy" online campaign.

As the outrage over morality continues, a steady procession of well-wishers pours in, offering gifts, money and support to the toddler's family.