A 2-year-old baby girl who was struck down on a busy street in China by a white transit van was left for dead by 18 passers-by, all of whom saw the child and did nothing to aid the tiny victim.

The CCTV footage shows one by one the girl, named Yueyue, being passed by as she lies visibly motionless on the road bleeding ferociously. The first is a man in his mid-20s wearing a white T-shirt and trainers who walks within a foot of the girl with barely a second glance.

Next comes a cyclist, who swerves to avoid hitting the dying child, turning his head back of a second, almost out of curiosity, but then continues his journey.

Another driver and pedestrian clock the girl, with the pool of blood growing ever thicker into the gutter, but people just walk farther out the way and move on.

Having seen 18 people heartlessly avoid the little person finally the 19th passer-by, a 58-year old street cleaner Chen Xianmei, lifts the lifeless body and alerts the girl's mother, who is seemingly only metres away.

The story has been the lead across all major networks in China and has caused outrage with millions across the country and the world.

Some have blamed China's compensation culture for the apparent show of callousness, recalling a famous 2006 judgment when a Good Samaritan who helped a woman get to hospital was wrongly ordered to pay her compensation.

"They didn't ignore the girl, they just didn't dare help her," said one comment among many that said that Chinese law had helped create a fear of intervening.

But this sentiment was very much in the minority and many said the scenes in the video should "shake the soul of every conscientious person" in China.

"Even if the passers-by couldn't rescue her, they could dial 120 and 110 [China's emergency numbers] and help to stop vehicles, then the little Yueyue wouldn't have been run over by the second car," said another comment posted by 'Dull Baby'.