Saturday, May 17, 2008
China admits Japanese rescue team
Tokyo, Japan — As the death toll from China’s earthquake climbs and Chinese soldiers weary after days of rescue efforts, Beijing has changed its policy of refusing foreign rescue workers. Japan, the first country whose offer of rescue help was accepted, has dispatched a team of 60 rescue and medical experts to Sichuan province, with the first batch arriving early Friday.
A second team of mobile police, firefighters, coast guards and aid specialists arrived later in the day in Chengdu, the area’s biggest city. Another medical team of about 20 is to follow.
Acceptance of the rescue aid was a major turnaround on China's part, which had said as recently as Wednesday that it would not accept Japanese aid workers. The Japanese government had already assembled a team from across Japan, but they were sent home in the face of China’s rejection. But 24 hours later the message changed and the mission was revived.
The aid workers will be engaged in finding any surviving victims under the rubble and providing emergency medical service to the wounded.
Japan, which describes itself as a “quaking archipelago,” has long been training experts in earthquake rescue skills, most seriously after the Hanshin earthquake that hit Hyogo prefecture near Kobe city west of Tokyo, in 1995. That jolt and ensuing fire killed 6,434 people.
The latest Chinese jolt was reportedly ten times more powerful than the Hanshin quake, which registered a magnitude of 7.3. With memories of that devastation and the Niigata quakes in 2004 and 2007 still lingering in Japanese minds, the people have been watching news coverage of the China disaster with great sympathy.
When the special task force was originally declined, China was seen in the same light as Myanmar, which is still refusing to allow foreign aid personnel into the country to help the tens of thousands of victims of Cyclone Nargis.
Apparently, however, the Chinese leadership considered it unwise to shun Japanese goodwill, especially following what Chinese media had called "a successful trip" to Japan by President Hu Jintao just days ago. "Recent bilateral relations had positive effects" on China's decision, Itsunori Onodera, Japan's vice foreign minister, was quoted as saying by the Yomiuri Shimbun Friday.
Part of the affected region is populated mostly by Tibetan peoples, and was the scene of recent anti-government violence. Chinese leaders are not willing to let foreigners into these areas to communicate directly with the local people.
But among the industrialized nations, Japan was considered least likely to cause significant political friction with China over Tibet. No personnel from the Ministry of Defense or the Self Defense Forces were permitted to be included in the teams, however.
Later Friday, China announced that it would also admit three other specialist foreign rescue teams, from Russia, South Korea and Singapore.
However, people directly involved in the rescue operation fear it might be too late to make a difference, despite their advanced rescue techniques. Members of the Japan Agency for International Cooperation, which is managing the mission, were reportedly on edge all week as the critical hours and days immediately following the disaster slipped away.
Nonetheless, since China is trying to adopt an image as an open country as part of its Olympics campaign, its behavior in time of crisis is being watched sharply from abroad. Its immediate response to the disaster by sending in thousands of troops, and finally its decision to accept foreign assistance, reflect well on the country, which aspires to be a global power.
It is hoped that on its border, the nation of Myanmar may follow China's lead in opening its doors to foreign workers, who are ready to come to the aid of millions of suffering victims of Cyclone Nargis, still waiting for help.
Friday, May 16, 2008
The following is from this youtube clip:
Added: May 13, 2008
We need your help!
My best friend is still missing!
Thanks everyone! we found my best friend and all my family members. I really feel the power of prayer. Let's keep praying for all of other families there who still can not find their families and relatives or who have relatives died, they still need our helps.
I deeply understand that we are the only few families who were so lucky to have such a good ending.
Thank you for all of my families here again for your prayers. Without your support, we probably will not be so lucky.
Right now, many families lost their relatives and a lot of people still missing. survivers need medical care, food and water badly. please make donations to help them.
Mercy Corp online donation.
Canada Red Cross Online Donation.
China Red Cross Online Donation.
If you reside in the US,especially if you are in greater Los Angeles area, you can call 1-626-974-0153 to get details on how you can help. Monetary and Material donations are both urgently in need.
Asian American associates on that phone line will help you complete and allocate your donations in the most efficient way.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
So my good friend Peter told me that May 15 is the day to write about human rights.
Except from Bloggers Unite:
"Bloggers Unite is an initiative designed to harness the power of the blogosphere to make the world a better place. By challenging bloggers to blog about a particular social cause on a single day, a single voice can be joined with thousands of others to help make a real positive difference; from raising awareness for cancer, to an effort to better education systems or support 3rd world countries.
While the words might change from country to country and are sometimes taken for granted, human rights represent one of the universally agreed upon ideas — that all people are born with basic rights and freedoms that include life, liberty, and justice. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations."
"Bloggers Unite For Human Rights challenges bloggers everywhere to help elevate human rights by drawing attention to the challenges and successes of human rights issues on May 15. What those topics may include — the wrongful imprisonment of journalists covering assemblies, governments that ignore the plight of citizens, and censorship of the Internet. What is important is that on one day, thousands of bloggers unite and share their unified support of human rights everywhere."
I guess there will be enough talks about "human rights" by bloggers everywhere today. They must be talking about "human rights" among human society. I'm sure there will be thousands of interesting debates, so I'm not going to talk about that.
I'm gonna talk about something different. I do want to point out about "human rights" we don't have on the planet earth. Humans don't have a right to keep contaminating the earth and threaten thousands of animal and plant species to extinction. We humans have multiplied vastly and kept consuming everything we can to the point we can't sustain ourselves with natural resources we have. Moreover, as if that is not good enough, we are emitting pollutants. On this tiny planet, we now have 6 billion people. We are on every land there is like a plague. We are endangering our very home, the earth.
Before talking about human rights among human society consisting billions of people, I think we should make the ground smaller and more manageable. We should break this saturated condition. We are too much for too little. I think we should somehow reduce the population down to around 1 billion so that we have more space from a person next to you so that we can value and respect the boundaries of individuals.
There are simply too many people screaming for their rights. We can knock down one problem at a time, but more problems will rise because the solution may make others unhappy. And, it is virtually impossible in this chaotic planet to have a fair solution with which everyone can compromise with a decent satisfaction level.
While I don't support such an extreme method as one-child policy in China, I think we shouldn't pertinaciously cling on the idea of prosperity in many ways... Sometimes we should stop whatever we are doing, pay attention to each other and clean up the mess. When we don't have the ground to do so, it's like spitting in the wind.
At this point, I lost train of thought and I don't know where I'm going with this, so ...urr fuck it. This is completely not what I wanted to say.
Uhm... the weather is nice! I'm going to the beach tomorrow woo hoo!