Science, Tech & Environment

China rescue effort continues

Eight days ago, Beichuan was a plenty city in a green mountain valley. Now it's a mess of debris and rubble. The quake sent boulders the size of SUVs down the mountain. The approach to the town now is eerily quiet. Along the road I meet a forty year old man who fled but has come back to find his wife. His expression suggests he knows the chances are slim but he's still grateful to the relief workers for trying. As we talk, dozens of soldiers with shovels march past us. I meet an exhausted firefighter who says he's been here since the day after the quake. Another man I meet agrees, a schoolteacher, but is also angry and is grateful for the relief workers now but wonders what the local government was doing right after the quake. He says not enough was done. He says he's so angry that he doesn't even feel like being a teacher anymore because teachers in China are underpaid and underappreciated. China's Ministry of Education says it is now investigating why so many schools collapsed in the quake. It says if contractors cut corners on quality they will be severely punished. But the teacher says he's lost faith in the Communist Party. Some might argue that the overwhelming sympathy of ordinary citizens has made China stronger. There was a moment of silence in the country today at the exact moment when the earthquake struck. After that pause, many Chinese went to donate to the Red Cross, some bent down to sign a thank you note for the world's concern. Looking at this, this student says there may be something good about disasters. Those left homeless, jobless and destitute by the earthquake can only open this public's good will will help them carry through.

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