Chinese Students React to Earthquake -cd – kh

Dorothy Wickens

Monday May 12, three Lawrence students awoke to find that their home province had been struck by disaster. China’s Sichuan province suffered a 7.9-magnitude earthquake that killed upwards of 41,000 people last week. Xiao Tan, Yangqing “Lucie” Xu and Jieling Xu all reside in the Sichuan province and were, of course, worried by the news.
Xiao Tan, a sophomore violin performance major, first found out about the earthquake on the Internet and immediately began to call home, but was unable to reach anyone. “After 2 hours, I finally reached my mom’s cell phone and learned that all my family and relatives were OK,” Tan said.
Yangqing Lucie Xu, a junior psychology major, learned of the earthquake from emails from her “friendship family” here in Appleton. They wondered if her family in China was safe. She soon received emails from her parents saying they were fine.
Xiao and Lucie, both from the city of Chengdu, said that none of the city’s buildings were damaged nor were any people injured. This was surprising, given the city is 52 miles from the epicenter of the quake.
Lucie was touched by the stories she heard and read about people helping children, the elderly and those trapped in the rubble. “Many doctors, nurses and soldiers lost their families in the disaster, but they were still trying their best to save other people’s lives,” she commented.
These two students were also pleased with the response from the government. Xiao noted that the response was incredibly quick, with Prime Minister Wen Jia Bao arriving in the disaster area within four hours. Lucie said that “all Chinese and others in the world are touched by Prime Minister Wen Jia Bao.” Lucie also noted that three days of national mourning began on Monday May 19, during which flags were flown at half mast, public events were canceled and the Olympic torch relay was suspended.
Lawrence and Appleton community members have been supportive of the students. “I get questions and concerns from my professors, friends and ‘friendship families’ here in Appleton. I’m very grateful for their concerns and prayers,” Lucie said. The Red Cross and the Northeast Wisconsin Chinese Association are organizing donations to help the victim and their families.