Xu Shoulan v. Peng Yu

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Xu Shoulan v. Peng Yu, also referred to as the Peng Yu Case[1] or the Nanjing Peng Yu Incident,[2] was a civil lawsuit in the People's Republic of China, brought before the Nanjing District Court in 2007.

In 2006, Peng Yu had encountered Xu Shoulan after she had fallen and broken her femur. Peng Yu assisted Xu Shoulan and brought her to a local hospital for further care. Xu Shoulan accused Peng Yu of having caused her to fall, and demanded that he pay her medical expenses. The court decided in favor of the plaintiff and held Peng liable for damages, reasoning that despite the lack of concrete evidence, "no one would in good conscience help someone unless they felt guilty". The verdict received widespread media coverage, and engendered a public outcry against the decision. It is regarded as a landmark case because of its implication that the Chinese public is vulnerable to civil liability for lending help in emergency situations due to the lack of any Good Samaritan laws.[3]

The incident[edit]

November 20, 2006, Peng Yu encountered Xu Shoulan, an elderly lady, after she had disembarked from a city bus and fallen. Peng brought Xu to the hospital, and contributed 200 RMB towards her treatment. At the hospital, Xu was diagnosed with a fractured femur and was told that she would have to undergo femur replacement surgery. Xu demanded that Peng pay for her medical costs, and when he refused, sued him for personal injury compensation, claiming that he caused her fall. After out-of-court mediation failed, the case was brought before the Gulou District Court in Nanjing on April 1, 2007. In court, Xu claimed that she had seen that Peng bumped into her, whereas Peng maintained that he only approached Xu after he had seen her fall. An eyewitness present at the scene, Chen Erchun, claimed that Xu had inexplicably fallen as she was transferring between two buses. He maintained that Peng had only arrived at the scene after Xu had fallen, and that he himself had assisted the two of them in calling Xu's relatives. These statements were categorically rejected by Xu Shoulan at the third court hearing.[4] The case concluded with Peng admitting to have accidentally pushed Xu as he was getting off the bus, and agreed to pay her 10,000 yuan compensation in the settlement reached in March 2008. The two sides withdrew their appeals and came to an agreement that they would not disclose details of the case.[5]


  1. ^ Minter, Adam (8 January 2012). "China's Infamous 'Good Samaritan' Case Gets a New Ending". Bloomberg View. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  2. ^ Li, Hongmei (20 September 2011). ""Good people and good deeds" should never be tarnished". Xinhua. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  3. ^ Young, Melody W. "The Aftermath of Peng Yu: Restoring Helping Behavior in China" (PDF). Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal Association. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  4. ^ "南京彭宇案再调查:老太去世 原法官调任街道办" (in Chinese). sina.com.cn. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  5. ^ Shanghai Daily (8 January 2012). "'Good Samaritan' admits he pushed woman". china.org.cn.