Social media users in China hit out at ‘forest of steel’ after lift death

Social media users reacted to news that the body of a woman was found 30 days after repairmen shut off the power of a lift she was in, without checking if anyone was inside.

Beijing // China’s internet users on Monday lamented the callousness of the country’s teeming cities following the discovery of a woman’s body a month after she was trapped in a malfunctioning lift.

The 43-year-old, reportedly suffering from mental illness but living alone, was stuck in the lift in the northern city of Xian in late January. Chinese media said maintenance workers shut off the power without properly checking if anyone was inside at the time.

Her body was found 30 days later as the crew left for the annual Lunar New Year holiday and did not return until March 1.

Chinese web users were shocked by the accident, deploring the indifference of relationships in modern society.

“I thought such things would only take place in the wild,” one user posted on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.

“But actually the crowded cities are nothing but just a forest of steel – we are surrounded by so many people and have so many ‘good friends’ in [online] chat groups but there are few that really have anything to do with you.”

Those responsible for the incident have been detained by police, reports said, without specifying whether they were the maintenance crew or others involved.

China is prone to accidents as regulations and standards are often flouted and enforcement is lax, sometimes due to corruption.

Last July a woman was killed after she plunged through flooring over an escalator in a Chinese department store.

Media on Monday blasted widespread negligence in China’s lift maintenance industry and property management companies. A commentary carried by news portal urged the government to strengthen supervision “to ensure such tragedies do not happen again”.

It also criticised the victim’s family for allegedly leaving her alone.

“The sick woman had no one to take care of her. It is impossible to understand why [her relatives] were so indifferent. How could such a mishap occur if she was looked after?” it asked.

A Weibo user said she was haunted by fears of a solitary existence.

“I’m so afraid of becoming a woman so disliked, living alone and with no one showing any interest in me,” she wrote.

* Agence France-Presse