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The Forum > Article Comments > Crisis and response - part three > Comments

Crisis and response - part three : Comments

By Wenran Jiang, published 28/5/2008

Does rapid, open response to the quake disaster mark the birth of a more responsible, transparent China?

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In fairness to the China of 1976, (and I first visited the place in 1974), I don't see how large teams of foreigners pouring into Tangshan would have materially improved the earthquake reflief operation required at that time. Sure, China did have some very capable tanslators and interpreters who could have liaised between Chinese relief organisations and those from the outside world, but they were few and far between and nothing like the sophisticatd army of English-speakers who now exist in business, the professions, the service industries and academia. One only has to watch the constant flow of such people through the current affairs presentations on the English-language channel CCTV-9 to be aware of the talent that now exists, in an emegency, to facilitate language exchange and inter-cultural understandings. In the absence of this human infrastructure, the sudden imposition on a disaster zone of personnel who don't speak the local language, don't understand the local ways and who create their own wants and needs based on First World health and lifestyle expectations, can create more of a hindrance than a help.

On a personal note, I was due to fly into Sichuan on the evening of the quake. It occurred mid-afternoon. Within hours, we knew that Chengdu Airport had been closed and that priority was being given to the arrival of some 47,000 PLA troops and other relief workers, medical aid and equipment and so on. What we witnessed verifies the author's descriptions of a highly organised, immediate, thorough and genuinely compassionate response by the Chinese Government and people. News footage of premier Wen Jiabao in the rubble, the very next day, consoling victims and dealing first hand with the requirements of the rescue effort shamed not only the Myanmar generals, but also President Bush in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Posted by mike-servethepeople, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 10:19:04 AM
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A superb article.

First page had enormous emotional buildup - but I was concerned that it was also first-rate propaganda.

The second page tempered the praise with caution about China's regime and identified areas it could improve.

In terms of impact in Australia I think China's humane reaction to the Sichuan earthquake has worked to reduce Western anger over Tibet and the torch charade (http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=7324).

Australians have a right to be angry when stuffed around by China but if China consistently does the right thing I think it might prove to be a worthy partner.

Peter Coates
http://spyingbadthings.blogspot.com/
Posted by plantagenet, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 10:50:49 AM
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I whole-heartedly congratulate the Chinese government on the massive highly disciples and prompt action in rescuing the trapped victims of the earthquake. By way of contrast the Burmese government was seen as stunned,cold-hearted and totally incapable of serving the needs of the victims of the flooding.

I know that China has problems with the massive dissenting population of Tibet despite all that has been done to drag that country into the 21st century and break the hold of the medieval fiefdom that pervades that country still. China isnt the only country with that ethnic problem.The same problem occurs in Turkey,Armenia, Iraq and Iran where the Kurds are concerned. The British imperialist map-drawing bureaucrats overlooked their aspirations. India has that problem.It needs two armies of crack troops and armour to hang on to all the territories east of Bangladesh, principally Nagaland,Tripura, Assam and Megalaya. Lets not forget the Karens of Burma.
Despite all this the image of Grandpa Wen symbolises the face of new China for me. Give credit where credit is due.
socratease
Posted by socratease, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 5:03:59 PM
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Wenran Jiang

China usually does great job in disaster-relief operation, no matter under CCP, Mao or in the past thousands of years, that is due to collectivism. Or that is why collectivism is formed in Chinese society. Collectivism helps China to be the only survived major ancient civilization in the world, after five thousand year natural and societal challenge. That's why collectivism is one of the corner stones of Chinese culture.

"the free access given to foreign journalists in the quake areas has resulted in positive reporting by the foreign media, China opened itself to the world for help, allowing foreign rescue... "

Major contribute of openness is reducing the West criticism to China. China does grateful for the world help, but as I know, only one alive was rescued by Russian rescue team, compare with tens of thousands of people rescued from debris by Chinese troops.

"China could make a great leap forward beyond its borders when itís willing to play a more active role in alleviating human suffering in countries such as Burma, Sudan and Zimbabwe, and take the lead in world affairs beyond its well-defined but narrow national interest."

If there is "competition" between China and West, West usually criticises China irresponsible. Sudan crisis is an example. When China cooperates well with Africa and imports a few percentage oil from Africa, West carefully linked Sudan crisis with China. While West which imports large amount of resource from Africa and caused lots of crisis in Africa for centuries looks like a savior.
Posted by Centra, Saturday, 31 May 2008 11:36:48 AM
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One should ponder over why no any west media (as I known) mentioned that quake epicenter area is a minority autonomous region, where three quarter of population is ethnic Tibetan, Qiang etc. But just a month ago, West was desperately vociferating for the Tibetan rioter, and the only rioter killed by the police is in the region.(some west media was deliberately ambiguously mixed the region with the Lhasa.)

"Crisis and response "

So there are some ignorant hypocrite such as Sharon Stone did make mistake:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24869331/
.
Posted by Centra, Saturday, 31 May 2008 11:42:40 AM
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