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China, I am proud of you
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16:47, May 22, 2008

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· 8.0 Richter scale earthquake hits SW China
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The Wenchuan massive quake and the prompt rescue and relief operations have been aired live repeatedly these days and reduced me to tears almost every time. I shed my sad tears for those killed and injured by the deadly quake, and for the bereaved elderly and orphans deprived by the quake of the parents' care. I shed my touching tears for those who risked their own lives bringing others back from the verge of death, and for the whole nation which gives the due respect to every life and never abandons any possible chance in the life-saving efforts. I feel so warm living in such a caring society, and so proud being a Chinese.

In the wake of the devastating quake, every Chinese seemed to be hero-like: military officers and troops, paramilitary troopers, armed police forces marched into the worst-hit areas regardless of the unpredictable aftershocks. Disaster-stricken people remained calm and confident in the face of calamities trying desperately to survive and rescue others. The debris and mangled slabs of concrete witnessed a miracle created by strong human lives: a survivor returned alive from the rubble where he had been buried for as long as 179 hours.

There are so many tear-jerking stories with the hero being ordinary citizens. A physician kept busy rescuing others even when he was informed that he had lost his 9 relatives. Poor or rich, people across China would offer to make donations. A countryside woman sold all of her four lambs in order to do a share in the relief donations. A migrant worker waited for his turn to donate blood, as he said he had nothing but his blood. Media staff ventured to the spot seizing every minute and second to send back timely and updated information.

In Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, the powerful quake set up huge waves of disaster aids and donations. By May 20, the public contributions in Hong Kong had topped 1 billion Hong Kong dollars. Thinking of all this, a strong sense of gratitude will always creep into my mind.

I also feel moved by the lovable leaders. President Hu Jintao experienced frequent aftershocks while inspecting the hardest-hit areas. A fresh aftershock struck shaking the earth and the roaring sound of landslides could be heard in the vicinity, when he talked with the rescue workers, but he still directed work with perfect ease. Premier Wen Jiabao bent over to encourage a man trapped beneath rubble to hold on. His hoarse voice, as a result of several sleepless nights in addition to extremely heavy workload and pressure, and his tears shed for his suffering people saddened the whole nation. His call-- ‘Even if there is a glimmer of hope, we will make 100 times of efforts to save lives'—has warmed every heart of the disaster-hit people and comforted every Chinese.

A government for the people, with the people oriented, and with its leaders keeping sincere and dear to the people is a true portrayal of highly efficient administration, and also a great blessing for the whole nation.

I take much pride in my country with growing national strength accumulated over its 30 years of reform and opening up. The operational mechanism to handle breaking events and crises was launched timely and functioned efficiently and effectively. Hi-tech facilities utilized in the rescue missions dramatically shortened the rescue process and enhanced the likelihood to locate and rescue lives, which can be manifested by life-detecting apparatus and satellite telecommunication equipment. The timely deployment and efficient coordination of the ground forces, air forces and engineering forces were acclaimed by the world as a marvel. Only when the national strength is greatly enhanced, can the country contribute more to its people in need. The total allocation by the central government as disaster relief fund has mounted to over 10 billion yuan.

The 8-magnitude quake has been so far the most destructive one hitting the country in more than three decades and since the quake measuring 7.8 on the Richter Scale jolted Tangshan in 1976. Looking back on the Tangshan earthquake, we can not forget the helplessness then felt, when people were more than willing to offer a helping hand but lacking power to do so. ‘People need to be in good keep themselves before reaching out to others,' as an old saying goes, and with the evident social progress and the rapid economic growth over the 30 years, the Chinese people would and could render assistance to those in need.

I was born and bred in Hong Kong. I could still remember that before the year 1997 when Hong Kong's sovereignty was handed over to the Chinese mainland, many people fled Hong Kong, as they didn't have any confidence in the Chinese central government. In recent years, however, those having emigrated to other countries returned in droves, seeing Hong Kong's booming economy and stable society. Many of them have even moved their business to the mainland so as to seize more opportunities on offer there.

The nationwide contributions to Wenchuan and the mass involvement in the rescue and disaster relief have again inspired us to love the country and the people. As a native to Hong Kong, I, together with many others, have attached our strong awareness and sentiment of being a Chinese to our donations when the disaster hit our motherland, and I will always feel warm and proud at the thought of ‘my country, and my people'.

By People's Daily Online

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