Science, Tech & Environment

China mourning

It was at the point when I walked through a police checkpoint that I turned to a colleague and said, it feels like we've gone through the looking glass. Disasters, epidemics, used to be considered state secrets, but not the case with this earthquake. New rules came into play a year and a half ago saying foreign journalists could work freely but old habits die hard and this spring dozens of correspondents were detained trying to cover Tibetan protests. But the earthquake has changed quite a bit of that. One survivor expressed gratefulness for journalists' coverage of the earthquake. Still not everyone has forgotten their old ways. Volunteers waving a huge Chinese flag at a Red Cross donation box station cheered for people donating. But one high school student had critical things of Western media's coverage of the earthquake. But she was nice enough to me, and so was this 38 year old engineer at a displaced person's camp. He said, China is a country that has suffered a lot of disasters and has a lot of problems and he's sure the Chinese government will be good to its people. He says China needs respect the most. It's hard not to respect the way Chinese are helping their own people in wake of the disaster. People are shouting their support for the President and the government too. But there was also a sense of shared purpose and possibility and even giddiness at being able to march on the streets. But reports of the demonstration didn't make the newspapers today. but the differences in government attitudes in the wake of this disaster are noticeable. Outside China, these attitudes have also changed topics from Tibet to democratization in China. With the Olympics coming soon, it's a silver lining in the midst of an immense tragedy.

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