I hope you are all playing nice as I don’t have time to serve as Net Nanny. But I wanted you all to see this uplifting IHT article about how “ordinary” Chinese citizens have mobilized to help quake victims:
Hao Lin had already lied to his wife about his destination, hopped a plane to Chengdu, borrowed a bike and pedaled through the countryside in shorts and leather loafers by the time he reached this ravaged farming village. A psychologist, Hao had come to offer free counseling to earthquake survivors.
He had company. A busload of volunteers in matching red hats was bumping along the village’s rutted dirt road. Employees from a private company in Chengdu were cleaning up a town around the bend. Other volunteers from around China had already delivered food, water and sympathy.
“I haven’t done this before,” said Hao, 36, as he straddled his mountain bike on Saturday evening. “Ordinary people now understand how to take action on their own.”
From the moment the earthquake struck on May 12, the Chinese government dispatched soldiers, police officers and rescue workers in the type of mass mobilization expected of the ruling Communist Party. But an unexpected mobilization, prompted partly by unusually vigorous and dramatic coverage of the disaster in the state-run news media, has come from outside official channels. Thousands of Chinese have streamed into the quake region or donated record sums of money in a striking and unscripted public response.
This is a hopeful piece about the blossoming of civil society in China. It points to the vital role of journalists (professional and civilian) in raising public awareness of both the scope of the disaster and the conditions in China’s countryside.
Maybe it’s time to put that 麻 木 stereotype to bed.
HT to Shanghai Slim.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.