The earthquake in the province of Sichuan on the 12th of May, already took the life of almost 60,000 Chinese. Millions of people had to move and are living in camps now.
Chang has an uncle and aunt living in Sichuan. ‘They are staying in a camp now, because they are afraid to sleep in their house. The ground is still shaking. They want to be around for their work and house, but their five year old daughter had to go to my grandparents on the east coast of China.’
The Chinese students at Avans are all very involved with the disaster in their homeland, Chang says. They feel very sad about what is happening. ‘I saw pictures of dead bodies or only a hand.’ It shocked him. ‘Experts say that the shaking will continue for the next two months.’
Shen Li, employee of Avans International Office, was in Beijing at the time the earthquake took place. ‘There was some shaking in Beijing too. And white collar workers in Shanghai took their laptops out of the office to work outside, because they were afraid of the shaking they felt.’ China is very sad about this great disaster. ‘In Beijing there were three days of praying at the Tian Anmen Square. Everybody is helping. They give money and blood’, Shen tells. Now she’s back she also follows the news on internet every free minute. Recently she had a reunion with Chinese students who graduated at ASIS, like Shen. ‘We were sharing it together.’
Juxian Mao, Chinese teacher at Avans, has a girlfriend who’s from Chengdu, the main city of Sichuan. ‘On Youtube I saw the pictures of her uncle when he was digged up from the ruins. Especially when you see pictures of somebody you knew, it comes closely.’
According to Mao it´s positive that the Chinese government reacts appropriate. ‘The rescue workers are working professionally, the government promised to give lifelong allowance to people who became disabled and parents who lost their child are allowed to have another child, in spite of the Chinese one-child-policy’, she tells.
But still, 2008 was a bad year for China, Mao mentions. ‘There were more natural disasters, a train derailed with many deads and we had the protests in Tibet.’ But the Olympics in Augustus will not suffer under it, she thinks. Also Shen hopes that all the problems don’t affect the Olympics. [PM]