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Love is conditional, while compassion is boundless
China's Unsound Heroes (2)

15 May 2009

Question by 北峰 (host to the interview)

Can you tell us what the situations are in the quake-affected areas with regard to the effort at restoring and resuming the work and production, and how we can better help the people over there?


Answer by 新洋

I should say people there are doing everything they can to rebuild their lives, some use their craft skills to make artistic stuff to trade for cash, others allocate a portion of their mobile house to open a tiny shop. When tourists arrived in group, the locals would rush to set up stalls to sell quake souvenirs. A formal Beichuan resident surnamed Deng became the first person to return to the destroyed town and live in a tent near his ruined home to feed his pigs, since he needed money to pay for the debt he borrowed from bank and neighbours for building a new house. A few months later when I saw him again I found he was no longer raising pigs but selling souvenirs outside the rear gate of the old Beichuan Town - he said sales job brought him a better income.

应该这样说,重灾区老百姓想尽办法在自救。能够编织羌绣的就编,能够把自己板房腾一半来摆小商品的就腾,看见游客来得较多的立即就摆个大地震旅游纪念品摊。就说那个带我找北川县城断裂带的邓大哥,第一个偷偷跑回家住帐篷,目的是抓紧时间喂猪的,要还修新房子借银行与邻居的账。过了几个月我又过去,还是这个邓大哥,开始在北川老县城后门摆摊卖旅游纪念品了—— 他说这样收入会快一点.

Question by liumingjun006:

Is anyone still living in tent? Are there any tent schools at the moment? Haven't the roads all been repaired? Do the kids currently study in mobile classrooms? Haven't the crop seeds all been distributed to the farmers by the local governments? And how does the restoration work go for the hydraulic infrastructure and water management facilities?

1.还有没有住帐篷的人?2.还有没有帐篷学校?3.路都修好没有? 4.孩子们还在板房中上课吗?5.政府给农民支援种子,帮助恢复水利设施这方面做得到位吗?

Answer by 新洋

So far no one still lives in tent, and most quake victims have moved into mobile houses. Those I met living in tent are the ones who either want to be near their new housing project site, or next to their original home, or need to feed their livestock. I haven't spotted any tent schools lately, but some students are still studying in mobile classrooms since many new schools are still under construction. All the roads have been repaired but still the path to Yingsui Town is quite dangerous for vehicles to drive through. During the early phase of recovery, the local governments did provide crop seeds to the farmers for free, but I don't know what is the situation this year. As for the hydraulic infrastructure and water management facilities, it presents serious challenge to the remote mountainous community, and some crops are dying and the farmers are desperate.


Question by 北峰

From the photo images you posted this year, I found many shops and hotels in the area attract very few customers, and the owners seem rather anxious about their business outlook. Is this a widespread problem? Apart from the transportation, are there other majors factors that affect the business performance in the quake-hit region? I wonder what we can do to help them?


Answer by 新洋

This indeed is a wide spread problem, not just for those in the remote mountainous region. Even for well-known tourist spots like Yellow Dragon (黄龙) and Mt Four Sisters (四姑娘山), the situations are very much the same. If no tourists coming, no matter how low the tax and rental fees go, it won't help. To resolve this problem, the first we need to upgrade the roads to the level, at least before the quake, and secondly the government needs to actively promote commercial ventures, and third the local authorities must find a way to attract the tourists.


Question by 村委常委:

From the news reported from the quake-affected areas, I learned many survivors are currently under huge financial pressure due to the need to rebuild their home. I would like to know what the new initiatives are that the local authorities should have come up with in order to help relieve the pressure, and whether banks are going to offer low or free interest loans to the quake victims in this special period of time.


Answer by 新洋

The recovery work, as I know, is divided into two parts, one in the rural area, and another in the urban environment. The construction work for new villages began since August last year, but for some big cities and towns, the restoration projects only started this year. The most common challenge people are facing in their recovery endeavour is lack of funds, which are caused by many factors.

Historically, the living condition in the Beichuan rural area was very poor, so in the past decade or so, the locals had spent all their savings on building new houses and purchasing modern home appliances.

Then, before the earthquake, most families had multiple sources of income, which may include cultivating orchards or raising livestock, with young people working in the factory or office. Now as the hillside plantations and grazing lands are destroyed by the quake, while the current economic downturn makes it difficult to find a job in city, the income streams have dried up.

Finally, for those with original building site severed damaged to the point it is no longer suitable for erecting a new house, they have to buy a plot of land elsewhere which makes their goal to build a new home even harder to achieve.


Question by 遇到

Mate, the things you've done for the quake victims in the past year have touched the hearts of the nation. My question is: Do you have the support from your family? Have they ever complained? What makes you carry on with your wonderful work?


Answer by 新洋

My family taught me to live a meaningful life, and in my view the value of life is about being able to accomplish a few good things that is truly meaningful.

I watched those TV series and films about the unsound heroes working under cover for the sake of their people and their nation. They might be frequently mistrusted and misunderstood by their friends and their loved ones and their community, but they keep going on and never regret. You may ask what makes them to carry on with their dreadful work.

To care for our family, our friends and our country, I think this is our collective national psyche. I trust most Chinese will do exactly what I've done when opportunities arise.


你问有没有压力,我最近看电视、电影, 那些地下党主角,我也不知道他们为什么受了那么多委屈,还坚持战斗。



Prev: China's Unsound Heroes (1)
Next: Chinese Landscape Painting


Reflection of Collective Chinese National Psyche

A waterway in Beichuan, the centre of the Sichuan earthquake: serene , harmonious and reflective

A demeanour of the traditional Chinese architecture in Beichuan: broad, soft and open to the world outside

An ancient path in Beichuan structured thousands years ago that has not been destroyed by the quake

The ancient path leads to this ancient Chinese teaching: Living above circumstance and keep dignified integrity.

(Source of photo: 新洋,

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