Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Chinese People Rally via the Internet to Help the Earthquake Relief

On its website, the National Development and Reform Commission asks for citizen's opinion on rebuilding earthquake affected areas

Many Chinese people from all round the country are posting messages on BBS, blogs or chatrooms calling for fellow citizens to join relief work and rebuilding efforts for the earthquake struck area in south west China.

On, China’s NO.1 search engine, for example, a chat room has been set up exclusively for posting relief and rebuilding related messages. Some people said they were willing to organize citizen groups on their own and travel to the disaster area to help, or become volunteers.

People are also expressing support and hope for the rebuilding effort, as well as their concerns and suggestions. Several messages warned about official corruption such as embezzlement of relief funding. Some suggested that instead of trying to send relief to the most affected areas, the government should move people out and send them to other cities to be taken care of. After their homes are rebuilt, they can go back.

One college student suggested nearly one hundred colleges in Sichuan to take summer break early and let the campuses accommodate homeless people from the earthquake regions. These colleges could provide not only thousands of dorm rooms, but also shower and dinning facilities.

One notion stands out from people’s online comments, and that is the call for attention to mental care for earthquake victims, especially orphans. Anhui Normal University announced that its psychology department has opened counseling hot lines and posted on the cell phone numbers of several psychological professors, promising that these cell phones will be on 24 hours a day.

The central government has set up a national office to guide the rebuilding efforts and opened a website where citizens can submit their advices and comments on the matter. However, as of June 4, there were only five entries on this site while there were hundreds posted on,.

Earthquake relief chatroom on