Here’re few headlines in Chinese media regarding Haiti earthquake:
Here’s how how you can help.
Here’re few headlines in Chinese media regarding Haiti earthquake:
Here’s how how you can help.
“This maybe the world’s tiniest memorial hall. Not quite 5 meter by 5 meter, it’s intent is not to mark an important historical event, or eulogize a famous person, only to remember an ordinary life.”
Continue reading (Letter) A Tiny Memorial For A Tiny Life
*** ( NOTE : This is an addition to the 2nd “follow-on” article I wrote recently. I would highly recommend you read that article first before starting this one if you haven’t already. The purpose of this article is to answer a couple of questions raised by some readers. ) *** ( click here to read that follow-on article )
Continue reading Addition To My "Follow-On Article (2)"
*** ( NOTE : This is the 2nd and last “follow-on” article of the parent artcle titled : “Putting the Sichuan Quake into Perspective“. This 2nd “follow-on” article, like the 1st one, is NOT meant to be a stand-alone article. I would therefore highly recommend you read that article before starting this one. The parent article is only 1 page long, and should provide the context in which this article should be viewed ) *** ( click here to read the 1st article ) Continue reading Follow-On Article (2) (for the Sichuan Quake article)
*** ( NOTE : This is a follow-on of the artcle titled : “Putting the Sichuan Quake into Perspective“. This 2nd article is NOT meant to be a stand-alone article. I would therefore highly recommend you read that article before starting this one. The 1st article is only 1 page long, and should provide the context in which this article should be viewed ) *** ( click here to read the 1st article )
Continue reading Follow-On Article (1) (for the Sichuan Quake article)
( Note : This is a re-post of the same article taken from the blogsite : chinablogs.wordpress.com dated May 10, 2009. You are most welcomed to give your feedback using the Comments section here or on my above blogsite. You may also find the comments and my feedback on the above blogsite interesting. It includes an interesting comment from an American with first hand experience of the quake. )
This post was a translation from Li Chengpeng’s blog as part of our effort to memorize the tragic earthquake one year ago. The author Li was a sports commentator who later on became active in other public spheres. After the Sichuan earthquake, he went to Beichuan as a reporter as well as a volunteer. As far as I know, this blog post had not been published anywhere other than his blog. However, I find it to be a touching story of the human spirit when faced with such disasters, and the miraculous impact a good conscience may have.
Original title: 北川邓家”刘汉小学”无一死亡奇迹背后的真相 (The truth behind the zero death miracle of the Bei chuan Liu Han Elementary School)
Today, I am not going to write how many died. It pains me to write about these today. Let me talk about miracles. Continue reading Saving Grace
According to government forecasts, up to 3 million tents are desperately needed in the earthquake zone. Every available tent in China has been redirected to this effort, and other international donors have done their best to help as well. (Pakistan, notably, has apparently donated every tent it owns to China.)
Not satisfied with just donating money to a nameless charity, a group of US-based Chinese on MITBBS have formed a group to take direct action. They are purchasing tents in the United States and shipping them directly to Sichuan. Below is their story (文章), and an opportunity for you to help.
Hong-Kong-based South China Morning Post (and perhaps East Asia’s leading English language newspaper) gives us this article (courtesy of Bill Savadore in Qingchengshan):
Bai Liqun still remembers the stories told by the elders about a time when her people slaughtered “Red Army” soldiers who entered the homeland of the Qiang ethnic group around 1949 because they feared the communist government would take away their land.
In the ensuing decades, the Qiang have become increasingly assimilated with the Han majority in Sichuan province through intermarriages and government-funded education for their children.
Relief efforts after the earthquake in Wenchuan county, a centre for the Qiang people, have bolstered the image of the government among ethnic minorities after a security crackdown against Tibetan protests in March.
Here is how one of the most controversial Chinese blog posts in recent memory begins:
“I have been engulfed in sadness that I was not born in a country like the United States, a country which respects freedom, democracy, and human rights! This is due to the pain I’ve suffered in the 10+ years since graduation, and it’s also due to the 17 years of pathetic education that I received before that. I’ve repeatedly questioned God: why did you give me such a freedom, and truth loving soul, but then force me to be born in a dark, authoritarian China? Why are you forcing such suffering upon me?”
These are the words of earthquake survivor Fan Meizhong (范美忠), a man who has also been given the moniker “Running Fan” (范跑跑).
Alright, I have to concede, after a few days of reflection, that I might have been a bit too harsh on Sharon Stone.
Some of the commentators, both on this blog and else where, have suggested/recommended leaving her alone for it was not worth the ink (or the LCD backlight decay) to argue over her remarks. I see the wisdom of such perspectives now. All I really should have done is to stand aside and watch her pushing the proverbial high heel and the attached flesh ever deeper down into her throat.
So Sharon, please keep going. And would you like a bigger shovel?
PS: Could anyone explain to me why Google News, when the term “Sharon Stone” is queried, would return a top ranked link titled “Actress Stone Contrite Over China Comments” whereas the referenced NYT article is actually titled “Actress Stone and Dior Differ Over Apology”?
A volunteer has posted a gorgeous collection of images of the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake on Tianya. There are equally beautiful stories attached to these images, but I can’t possibly translate them all.
Tens of thousands of average citizens have driven into the disaster zone, bringing food, water, and moral support. There has been so much traffic that tourist style road-maps have been setup. Along the way, they’ve seen suffering, but also great courage. And here are some of the signs the volunteers saw as they drove:
Continue reading Signs from the front lines
This touching blog entry was referred to us by long-time reader Bing Ma Yong. Thanks, BMY.
After interviewing on the front lines for more than 10 days, I’ve seen too much tragedy, I’ve witnessed too many touched moments, I’ve seen too many shocking pictures. But there is one more thing that has really moved me with an indescribable sense of sadness mixed with pride: the farmers I saw laboring in the rubble of their destroyed homes (in Pengzhou).
Roland at ESWN provides this translation of an excellent Southern Metropolis story about the local government’s promises to fully investigate school collapses in the area.
Many Chinese netizens in recent days have aimed a flood of scorn and vitrol towards local Mianyang party secretary Jiang Guohua, accusing him of being involved in local corruption, and then trying to cover up the scale of the disaster from higher levels of government. The picture of him kneeling will bring cheers from many people.
I don’t know the truth of these accusations, and I will not convict Jiang Guohua on the basis of accusations alone. But if the Deyang city government (one level up from Mianyang) follows through on its promises, then China will have taken another major step forward in the long march towards rule of law.
While being interviewed at the Cannes film festival, Sharon Stone shared some candid words on her reactions to the Sichuan earthquake, which to date is estimated to have killed more than 80,000 (including confirmed fatalities and those missing) and left millions homeless. I would strongly urge everyone to listen for yourself at this YouTube link. The following is a transcript I took down from the video clip as precisely as possible. The capitalized words reflect her own emphasized tones.
[EDITED to break the transcript into more readable parts]
Sharon Stone: … Well you know it was very interesting because at first, you know, I am not happy about the ways the Chinese were treating the Tibetans because I don’t think anyone should be unkind to anyone else. And so I have been very concerned about how to think and what to do about that because I don’t like THAT.
And I had been this, you know, concerned about, oh how should we deal with the Olympics because they are not being nice to the Dalai Lama, who is a good friend of mine.
And all these earthquake and stuff happened and I thought: IS THAT KARMA? When you are not nice that bad things happen to you.
And then I got a letter, from the Tibetan Foundations that they want to go and be helpful. And that made me cry. And they ask me if I would write a quote about that and I said, “I would.” And it was a big lesson to me, that some times you have to learn to put your head down and be of service even to people who are not nice to you. And that’s a big lesson for me.
The Red Cross corruption story yesterday was only the tip of the iceberg. A number of subsequent stories have since floated to the surface; in some cases, there have been been clashes between police and angry citizens.
The Chinese internet has been filled with literally thousands of stories of individual heroism from the recent earthquake… from victims, to PLA soldiers, to doctors, to volunteers, there are far too many for us to count or translate.
But this story in particular got the attention of many Chinese. It’s about a small group of poor Chinese peasants who drove across all of China in a rickety tractor in order in order to help in the disaster relief. For this reason, they’ve earned the label “the most bad-ass rescue team”.
For the many Chinese critical of their government, their number one concern isn’t “human rights” or “freedom of expression”… instead, it’s corruption pervasive throughout Chinese society. In the aftermath of the earthquake, this issue is again on prominent display.
The Chinese Red Cross is playing a critical role in managing relief donations for victims of the earthquake. However, along with great authority comes great responsibility. The Red Cross is now being hit with allegations of corruption from every corner.
China’s crackdown on Falun Gong (FLG) is frequently cited in the west as evidence of human rights abuse and suppression of religion. On the other hand, some of the FLG followers make it really difficult to sympathize with their cause.
Case in point, there are reports of FLG followers publicly cheering the Sichuan earthquake as a karmic response from heaven on the Chinese Communist Party. ESWN provided a translation of a report from Ming Pao dated May 21, 2008:
The confrontation between Queens county residents and the FLG practitioners is now on its fourth day …
Yesterday at 10am, several dozen FLG member appeared in front of the Flushing Public Library. Just like the past three days before, they unfurled banners that pronounced “The Heavens destroy the Chinese Communists,” “Experts sent Sichuan earthquake prediction report confidentially to authorities” and so on to show the passer-bys. Some of the FLG members said that they have been criticising the Chinese Communist regime and they thought that the Sichuan earthquake revealed the evil nature of the Chinese Communists. Some FLG members even said that the Sichuan earthquake was the result of the violent rule of the Chinese Communists.
Tsinghua University is one of the most prominent universities in China. Current President Hu Jintao and former premier Zhu Rongji are both Tsinghua alumni. So it’s naturally intriguing to know what current Tsinghua students are like, since they are probably China’s future leaders. Daniel Bell, a Professor of Political Philosophy and Ethics at Tsinghua University in Beijing, provided an insider’s view today at The New York Times.
Zhang Ya (张雅) (UPDATE: New name, see more below) has become the latest target of the Internet lynch mob. She is a 21 year old girl from Liaoning, and probably receiving far more hostility than even Grace Wang.
Here is her crime:
China is defiantly in mourning today. To those who lost their lives last week: you are in our memories, rest in peace.
Faced with a disaster of biblical proportion, the vast majority of Chinese stood still at 2:28 PM (local time) on Monday to memorialize those who lost their lives in last week’s earthquake. The Chinese government and Chinese businesses are taking extraordinary steps to participate in this memorial, including basically shutting down all entertainment in the country for three days; Shanghaiist gives a detailed overview of some of these measures.
The year 2008 might go down in history as the year that has again united China. I’ve had several Chinese of my parents’ generation tell me that many of them had lost faith in the Chinese as a people after the Cultural Revolution, that a decade of mutual persecution and incrimination had destroyed even basic morality. I’ve had other Chinese tell me that they had lost faith in the Chinese as a nation after 1989/6/4, that a country which used force on its people could not possibly survive. I’ve heard from younger Chinese that they felt abandoned by the new market economy, that the growing wealth gap meant we were growing more separated by the day.
But many feel a sense of renewal this year. We’ve seen the wealthy reach deep into their pockets to donate to the victims; we’ve seen young peasant soldiers give their lives, give every inch of their souls in fighting for every last life in Sichuan; we’ve seen (some) admirable government officials go sleepless nights trying to solve every last problem. All of the pain that we’ve shared (from the snow storm, to Tibet, and now to the Sichuan earthquake), and all of the good that we’ve done to fight back are re-establishing in many Chinese a broad love for China that hadn’t existed for decades.
This is no longer the red hot, testosterone-driven lust for a stronger China many of us (including myself) exhibited after the Olympic torch was attacked on foreign soil. This is a deeper, determined, unblemished love for a China that we will rebuild.
I was very moved by this video of the crowds that spontaneously formed in Tiananmen Square (and many other Chinese cities) following a 3-minute period of silence; the video shows tears, anger, sorrow, and hope in the hearts of a billion plus Chinese of all ages and backgrounds.
Students from Sichuan high school were evacuated from their classrooms on May 12th due to the earthquake. A few decide to record themselves having some fun. They mock the idea of casualties (one girl says she’s not worried about her parents, only the singers of Twins); they say they hope there’s an earthquake every day.
This poem comes from an editor at Taiwan’s China Post.
My dearest Daddy and Mommy:
I’m sorry! Today, I won’t be home on time.
This post also comes from Tianya, and is dated the evening of May 15th.
I haven’t closed my eyes for two days. I’m a student from Wuxi’s Professional Health Institute (Wuxi is located in Jiangsu province, in eastern China). After we learned of the earthquake in Sichuan, 8 of us voluntarily organized ourselves into a group, and had one of our parents drive us to Sichuan. The expressway’s still blocked, but along the way we saw a couple military trucks, and we caught a ride. We arrived at the earthquake zone, and we’ve been helping rescue the wounded since.
The thing that 16 year old Li An’ning fears the most is shaking. Lying on her stretcher, the rescuers carrying her to safety are careful with every step, afraid any small tremble will bring screams from her.
“I’m not even afraid of death now, but I’m terrified of even the smallest shake”, she said.
For those who care about China, your effort is needed now more than ever. Here are a few more options for those looking to make a donation to the Sichuan earthquake relief effort.
Within 2 hours of the actual earthquake, premier Wen Jiabao was on a plane to Chengdu. Upon landing, he was on the scene at the devastated city of Dujiangyan within hours. He has barely slept over the last 24-30 hours, personally attending to details on the scene. He has been in almost constant tears, doing what little he can to help. He has been quoted as saying to government officials: “Only one sentence: the people feed you, you know what you must do.”
The death toll continues to rise. The worst devastation appears to be in Beichuang, where basically the entire county-town has been leveled. The People’s Liberation Army and Armed Police have double-time marched into the area, but they could not bring heavy equipment. They can only provide basic comfort at this time; trapped school-children are calling out to them… “uncles, please help!” Villagers are being evacuated slowly, leaving behind probably half of the original population of Beichuang in the ruins.
Beijing has been remarkably open with covering this entire tragedy, not pulling a single punch. Images of children crushed and trapped within schools are on the front-pages of all Chinese newspapers and websites. Every resource within China is being brought in. The Olympic torch relay has been drastically modified. The route has been shrunk, and there will be a minute of silence in memory of those lost. Donation boxes will be setup around the route; the relay will now be a chance to raise money for the victims.
An elite airborne paratrooper unit (15th Airborne Corps) was widely reported to have been planning to parachute into the heart of the devastation yesterday, with road access still cut off. With horrible weather, many expected a very high casualty rate amongst the paratroopers; many reportedly wrote their last wills in preparation. With weather growing even worse in this mountainous area, however, this desperate measure was postponed for now.
Nations and people around the world have offered their sympathies and assistance. The Dalai Lama has applauded Beijing’s remarkably quick response to the earthquake, and is praying for the souls of the dead. Earthquake rescue teams from every nation stands ready to deploy; in the face of overwhelming support for the government effort so far, this last item is probably the only point of contention in the Chinese world right now. Some in China accuse the Chinese government of wanting to save face, and thus refusing international teams on the ground. However, Taiwanese experts commented that during their earthquake effort a few years back, dealing with international experts (speaking different languages and unfamiliar with the setting) can actually serve as a major distraction in the early hours of such a crisis. Beijing has said it welcomes all aid, and international teams will be welcomed in as soon as the roads into the mountains are cleared.
And yet again during this 2008, the Olympic year, the world’s attention is squarely on China.
A devastating earthquake has struck western Sichuan province. Early press reports are available here, and here; video from CCTV is here (Internet Explorer required). The earthquake’s epicenter is in Wenchuang county, which is part of the larger Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture.
The earthquake occurred at a very shallow depth, which accounts for the heavy damage, as well as people fleeing from swaying buildings in distant cities like Taipei, Shanghai, and Bangkok. To give some context for this scale: Chengdu’s distance from Shanghai is roughly similar to the distance of New York from Florida, Winnipeg from Quebec, Belfast from Rome.
Most of the damage and deaths appear to be located in Wenchuan county. Wenchung county is in the southern part of Aba (also known as Ngawa) prefecture. Wenchuan county has a population that is 46% Han, 34% Qiang, and 18% Tibetan. For Aba prefecture as a whole, 54% of the population is Tibetan, and 25% are Han. There were significant violent riots in Aba prefecture in March.
Premier Wen Jiabao is already on the ground in Sichuan province, and will direct the rescue operation personally. Road access has reportedly been cut off to the mountainous areas where the epicenter of the quake is; we won’t know full story for days.
UPDATE: Death count has crossed the 8000 boundary, and likely to climb higher. For those able to help, instructions for making donations to the Chinese Red Cross are listed below.