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Fu Ying's Thoughts on Disaster Relief

On 5 June Ambassador Fu Ying attended the luncheon hosted by Asia House and delivered a speech. Over 40 guests from the British parliament, business community and cultural sector attended the luncheon. It was presided over by its Executive Director Pinder.

Fu Ying thanked Asia House for hosting this luncheon. She introduced Sichuan earthquake and disaster relief efforts. She said, three weeks on since the earthquake, I spent over 2 hours daily on internet and TV for the earthquakes and disaster relief. The earthquakes have brought huge suffering to the people of Sichuan and China but many moving stories emerged in the process.

Fu Ying summarized her feelings into three points: First, the earthquakes have unprecedentedly united the Chinese people and strengthened its cohesion. Apart from 140,000 soldiers, armed police and medical workers who worked on the forefronts of the disaster, there are also 200,000 volunteers coming from all over the country. Their love and selfless sacrifice are praised by people in the disaster areas and throughout the country. Fu Ying told the story of "the most remarkable volunteers" chosen by people on internet, ten peasants from Shandong covering 2000 kms on tricycles to Sichuan. The earthquakes have made the young generations born after 1980s more mature, more caring and more generous and taught them their social responsibilities.

Second, the comprehensive and balanced coverage by both Chinese and western media let the world know a humanitarian China. Thousands of Chinese reporters sent timely, comprehensive and true pictures and images from the forefronts despite risks to their own safety. Over 500 foreign reports went to the areas and showed the world a true China with their own pens and lens. They cried with the people there and shared woes with them. One of them said he did not know whether he should continue shooting or leave his camera aside to rescue when confronted by the tragedy.

The world has seen a new China through the lens and the moving pictures. They have had new understanding of the Chinese leaders who have been to the forefronts of the disaster, of the Chinese soldiers who have worked so hard and made selfless sacrifice, and of the Chinese people who are so united, strong, confident and helping each other. The humanitarianism in western media has also moved the Chinese people. The earthquakes have made the Chinese and western people closer.

Third, the British people have shared the suffering of the Chinese people and made generous donations through various means. Until 5 June the total donations made to the Embassy's Earthquake account reached 1.23 million pounds. Many overseas Chinese came to the embassy in tears to donate. Chinese students brought their living allowances. Ordinary people shared their love. Some children even donated their pocket money. An 18-year-old young man Issac Lewis who had taught for half a year in Mianyan decided to walk for 240 miles from Shotton to London to raise money.

Fu Ying introduced her meeting with the members of the British medical team who had just been back from Sichuan. They introduced their work there and made suggestions as to how to rebuild hospitals in the areas. Fu Ying suggested those from the business community and those companies and organizations could consider projects of rebuilding hospitals and schools in the disaster areas and donate for specific purpose so as to achieve notable results.

Fu Ying also introduced the macro economic situation in China and answered questions concerning the long-term impact of the earthquakes to the Chinese society, Beijing Olympics and environmental protection.