A screenshot showing the toddler before being hit by a truck.

Beijing -

A driver who ran over a toddler in a hit-and-run accident that shocked China has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison, a court spokeswoman told AFP on Thursday.

The death of the two-year-old girl, nicknamed Yue Yue, triggered a huge public outcry after surveillance camera footage of her being hit by two vehicles last October in the southern Chinese city of Foshan was posted online.

At least 18 people were shown walking past the girl as she lay in the street critically injured, before a female rubbish collector finally picked her up and moved her to the curb.

The video went viral, shocking the Chinese public and triggering an outbreak of national soul-searching about the impact of rapid development and urbanisation on society.

Hu Jun was sentenced to three years and six months in prison for accidentally causing the toddler's death by hitting her with his car, a spokeswoman for the court in Foshan's Nanhai district told AFP by telephone.

Hu was given a lighter sentence than he might otherwise have received because he voluntarily turned himself into local police after the accidental killing, and paid part of Yue Yue's medical fees, the China News Service reported. - Sapa-AFP