A major Chinese city has plans for a "Good Samaritan" law after a toddler died in a hit-and-run ordeal.

The plight of a two-year-old girl being knocked down by two vans and then left for dead have prompted a Chinese city to introduce a "Good Samaritan" law that they hope will change its culture of suing people that come to the aid of strangers.

Yueyue, who was hit by a van, run over again and then left by 18 passers-by, died in hospital a few days later. Footage of the incident sparked outrage both in China and across the world, with many asking the obvious question: "Why and how could anyone leave a bleeding child on the side of the road?"

At the time, many pointed to cases where people who helped strangers later found themselves at the end of a lawsuit from the person whom they had aided. According to a report in the local Guangzhou Daily, one man was forced to pay 45,000 yuan (£4,400) to an old lady whom he had taken to hospital after she accused him of having knocked her over.

What has become a culture of "Good Samaritans" being sued has prompted the local authority in Shenzhen to publish a draft of rules that would protect them from any counter claims in future. The legislation outlines that a victim could face detention for falsely accusing the person who has come to his or her aid.

Speaking to The Guardian, Professor Tan Fang, of South China Normal University, who has set up a foundation to give legal support to helpers who are falsely accused of harm, said: "I am very happy that this regulation has come out. People have been hoping for it for a long time.

"I hope Shenzhen can strictly enforce the regulation. I also hope the regulation will be adopted by more provinces and become a national law."

Turning the tables on the situation, the professor asked thoughtfully: "If so-called helpers actually made a major mistake, and the victims cannot offer evidence, then can the helpers just go unpunished by law?"

There are no plans to introduce a similar campaign in the UK, though the City of London encourages people to join its volunteer organisation, Team London, which helps community projects around the capital.