Uruguayan Woman Lauded for China Suicide Rescue

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A Uruguayan resident in China has helped save a woman from committing suicide in East China's city of Hangzhou. She's been widely praised on Chinese blogs and in mainstream media.

When she saw a woman near drowning in Hangzhou's historic West Lake, Maria Fernanda leapt into action. The Uruguayan East China resident has been in the country with her husband, who's worked in Shanghai for several months.

The two were walking along the bank of the West Lake on October 13 when they saw the suicide attempt, and Maria intervened, acting almost instantly.

[Maria Fernanda, Rescuer]:
"I don't know, everything was fast, I'm not sure, but the thing is that suddenly she was with the water here, and so somebody have to do something, and I don't know Chinese, I could not scream or do anything, you know. So I decided to go myself."

Fernanda's timely intervention is causing online discussion in China, where there has been controversy in recent days over a perceived epidemic of apathy and lack of fellow-feeling. She's been widely praised by Chinese netizens.

According to Fernanda, a number of observers were simply standing by the lake taking photographs and filming the woman in distress.

[Maria Fernanda, Rescuer]:
"I remember what things will make me really angry are when I was coming out from the lake with her, I saw seven or eight cameras taking pictures and I started yelling in English. It was like 'What are you doing?' You know, it's like she will die and you only think of taking pictures. I don't know, I was angry, you know with her in the water. It was... please go away, it's not a show, it's not a fashion show, it's just... I really got sad and angry."