The Founding of the New Republic
Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, two events are so controversial that they almost cannot be discussed rationally or void of politics. One of them is the Great Leap Forward of 1958, and the other being the Cultural Revolution of 1966. A reference to history cannot be avoided for any event, more so an event as significant as GLF. The PRC was founded in 1949 October the 1st. What most people didn’t realize is, on that day, the Communist Party of China and its military arm, the People Liberation Army controlled less than 2/3 the territory of modern China. Areas such as Chongqing, Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Hainan, Xizang, Taiwan etc are still under the control of various Nationalist armies. In fact, Gansu and Xinjiang was only taken by the Communist in September. It would be June 1950 when all those regions except Hainan, Xizang and Taiwan were to be liberated.
Few weeks ago, a China Daily reporter contacted this blog for leads on foreigners working with China in Sichuan’s reconstruction. As you know, tomorrow is the three year anniversary of the May 12, 2008 earthquake; I have been looking for reports in the last few days on this topic.
The story that brought tears to my eyes was about a mother saving the life of her infant (“地震中的伟大母亲”). When rescuers arrived at a collapsed home, they found a woman in a kneeling position and slouching over. They found her posture curious and after examining her body, found in her lap a baby still alive. Wrapped with the baby is a phone, and on the screen is a typed message, “dear beloved baby, if you are able to survive, you must remember I love you.” In the video below, you will see the Chinese news anchor breaking down in reporting this story.
Climate change is real, and as Laura Tam, the lead author of the just published San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) Report, “Climate change hits home” (PDF), says, it is too late to prevent it entirely, but local communities can still do their part. Her report recommends 30 strategies to mitigate.
“Although we must do everything in our power to slow down climate change, it is too late to prevent it entirely. All levels of government, and especially local governments, must begin preparing for and building resilience to the effects of climate change, an area of planning known as climate change adaptation. Continue reading A call in joining hands to fight climate change→
While watching it, my knees felt weak. In general, I feel the world is responding with support for the Japanese people. During the 2008 Sichuan 8.0 magnitude earthquake, I remember supportive reactions from around the world too. In our world seemingly full of conflict, it is kind of weird that it takes tragedies of this proportion to see the “good” in us. And I like this idea too.
A magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit Japan on March 11, 2011 in the northeastern coast, near Tokyo. The 2008 Sichuan earthquake was a massive 8.0, releasing about 15 megatons (of TNT) or 63.1 petajoules of energy equivalent. At 9.0, it is 474 megatons or 31 times that. (Wikipedia) Given Japan’s relatively earthquake-proof buildings, the resulting tsunami is what causing most of the damage. Japan’s foreign ministry has announced 69 governments pledging support as of today. China’s rescue team has also arrived with personnel and equipment to help find survivors. I just want to take this opportunity to offer condolences to the Japanese people. I was also moved today to see a group of volunteers at a local Chinese grocery store collecting donations for Japan. Some of them represented the The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation. U.S. citizens can make tax-deductible donations to them through here. A summary of the earthquake situation can be found here.
One thing that is constant around the world is the occurrence of natural disasters. Every occurrence, thousands or millions of peoples lives are affected. Many die. Many are left homeless. Many are seriously injured. Many are permanently handicapped. Still, many are left without a child or a parent. Our world is full of disasters, and China has unfortunately had a large share. Below is a listing of the top ten natural disasters around the world:
From August 6-9, southern Taiwan was hit with the worst typhoon in 50 years. Per the Associated Press story:
“Morakot dumped more than 80 inches (two meters) of rain on the island last weekend and stranded thousands in villages in the mountainous south. A total of 15,400 villagers have been ferried to safety, and rescuers are working to save another 1,900 people. The storm destroyed the homes of 7,000 people and caused agricultural and property damage in excess of 50 billion New Taiwan dollars ($1.5 billion), Ma told the security conference.”