12 May, 2008

Chinese Earthquake

The BBC is estimating 8,500 dead in the earthquake that hit China recently. When I first heard the news, I couldn't help but recall Xinran's account (The Good Women of China - highly recommended) of the earthquake that hit Tianjin in 1976. In that situation, it took days before the central government was alerted and initial reports were rejected as fantasies. As a result, aid took far too long to arrive compounding the suffering of the people affected.

Whilst my heart goes out to the victims of this earthquake and their families, the Chinese government is to be applauded this time for taking direct and immediate action to try and aliviate the situation. Wu Jintao has urged an 'all out' effort. Given the Chinese government's ability to to brutally efficient when it wants to be, this is one situation where a singleminded approach will work wonders.

This is in stark contrast to its behaviour before or the behaviour of the Burmese government.

THW force aid on Burma? Absolutely.

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