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When Chinese Face Earthquake Disaster

21 April 2013

The life of this two-year old boy was saved by his 12-year old sister. Their parents work in a city, and the pair are under the care of their aging grandpa. At 8am this Saturday morning, when the toddler followed his sister to dispose garbage, the house collapsed in the quake and the girl used her own body to shield the brother. The sister is seriously injured, but the little boy suffers just minor cuts.

At the moment when the house fell down, 37-year old Yang Shuangmei used her own body to shield her eight-year old son. The body was unhurt, but the mother perished.

This elderly man was injured in the quake and his son carried him in his arms for over an hour while waiting for medical attention outside a makeshift operating room since there was no seat around. When asked if he was exhausted, he answered "it's all fine."

This young man was in toilet and buried under a concrete slab when quake stroke. While his mother rushed to pull him out, strong aftershocks further damaged the building and a bed from an unit in upstairs fell to the ground through holes. The son urged the mother to leave the building, but the mother kept working on lifting the concrete slab that weights heavier than her. And she succeeded. When asked how she managed to do that, she replied "I really have no idea."

A woman was injured in the quake and waited for medical treatment on a square in the high noon sun, so her husband held a pile of cardboards for hours to produce shade for her.

A heavily pregnant woman was rescued from a collapsed three-storey building.

A healthy baby was born hours after the quake in a bike shed at Yaan People's Hospital and is named Kong Zhensheng, meaning born in quake.

Following The Dream (随梦而梦) is the nickname of a weibo user from the quake centre Yaan, and shortly after the quake he met a little girl with an injury in her head and a big smile on her face. "I'm fine, uncle [that's the way Chinese kids address young male whether they are related or total strangers], I won't cry, I'm strong ("叔叔,我没事,我不哭。我很坚强的。")," she told Following The Dream when inquired.

"Because of this little sister [the common way to address little girls in China), I feel the quake is not that fearful," he said in his weibo post (因为有这个小妹妹, 我觉得地震没什么可怕的!).

Despite Chinese government from the State Council to the local level are more or less dominated by incapable, corrupted or even treacherous officials, China still has a group of "uncles" in military uniform whom Chinese people can rely on when in disaster or facing war, that is the People's Liberation Army. Like five years ago (by then they were savagely attacked by premier Wen Jiabao after his failed attempt to grab the control over military force), and like in any urgent situations before and after that, they are, once again, the first and the most efficient rescuers arriving in the scene - sometimes with deadly consequence.

The rapid growth of car ownership in China not only depletes China's already scarce recourses, pollutes China's already contaminated atmosphere, clogs up China's already congested roads, but hinders China's rescue effort and kills the rescuers.

Four hours after the quake, a military vehicle with 17 PLA soldiers headed towards the disaster area fell from a mountain road to a river below, as the driver tried to dodge a private car that cut into its lane.

As the result, two soldiers died, and four are in a critical condition.

While a sizeable chunk of China's officials, intellectuals and entrepreneurs are morally bankrupt, the same cannot be said about the majority of people at China's grassroots level. Almost immediately after the quake, the ordinary residents in Yaan lined up to donate their blood for the injured.

Some Yaan students stood hours in the scorching sun urging the car drivers to leave the "life line" to rescue vehicles.

A waste recycle worker from Jiangsu Province donated 400 RMB from his meager saving to help the victims. When asked where he came from, he replied: China.




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