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China: Time to pray

‘Pray for the disaster victims, god bless China’ has been the main motif on many main Chinese blogging websites as the country moves past the hundredth hour of mourning, fund-raising and blood donations.

neteasequake.jpg

The call for prayer has been the theme of coverage at new media and blog service provider Netease, which has also created a map mashup wherein users in Wenchuan can report in live time what's happening in their area. Blog service and news provider Tencent, like many of its peers, has set up a number of different pages allowing users to express their support and shared experiences. has just released its first 2008 beta version of the company's hugely popular instant messaging client with a disaster relief theme, QQ Prayer; downloading it allows the user to send candles and yellow ribbons to display their support and compassion to earthquake victims. As with all internet companies, QQ has set up a donations page which has already seen users sending in over 13 million RMB, as well as a channel to report fund-raising scams.

QQ has continued aggregating user-shot video clips from around the earthquake disaster scene which now number in the hundreds, as well as having set up a chart showing the latest figures and updates from the relief mission, including a missing person's bulletin board which can be seen further down.

Sina.com has gone for a green ribbon campaign, and is also calling on users of its blogging services to pray for those lost and yet to be unburied, as well as compiling official CCTV footage along with user-shot video.

sinaquake.jpg

Sohu.com's main Earthquake page is also featuring clips from the few media allowed to report from the disaster zone as well as those uploaded by users, with the emphasis on the latter. As with most blog portal websites, details on how to donate to Chinese Red Cross are being given prominence.

Chinese search engine leader Baidu has turned its Earthquake page into a sort of operations center for all the different online and offline relief initiatives it has underway, with calls to action aimed at users also being seen on smaller blogging sites such as Blogbus, BlogCN and Xici Hutong, among many others.

Cat898 has put most of its front page toward discussion of the earthquake, and features a photo set of the men working on the relief mission front line.

And the blog portal at China.com, while featuring what appears to be one user's photos of the devastation hundreds of thousands are experiencing, is also now highlighting one post which proposes that people allocate 1% of their monthly income toward the relief campaign:

每人月工资的1%,对每个人来说不算什么,但是对于灾区的人民可是救命钱呀。相信我们的民族一定能够在危难中崛起。
借用一句广告词
有我,中国强

One percent of everyone's monthly wage doesn't add up to much for anyone, but for people in the disaster zone this money that can save lives. I believe our nation can surely recover from this calamity.
To quote an ad slogan:
“With me, China is strong”

The overwhelming reponse to the proposal has been that people have already donated far more than 1% of their monthly salaries. The third comment on the proposal reads:

这次灾难中最大的灾难就是留下了数以万计孤儿!!!此时他们还在和其他的灾民一样接
受着救济,可日后的日子恐怕难以想象.时间长了我们的政府还会一如既往的想着他们吗?
即使想着他们无非也是逢年缝节的象征性的救济一下,况且专项救济资金不一定都能按期而
至!各个部门截留挪用之例每每发生,真正落到实处也是杯水车薪啊!因此我在此强烈呼吁
或建议!!!政府能不能即刻制定一政策:让全国有爱心的人民来领养!!当务之急是政府
出台相关的户籍政策和配套政策.如全部免去12年的一切义务教育学杂费...等等!这
样就可以使领养者少去许多人为的麻烦,特别是户籍!!!

The biggest catastrophe from this catastrophe are the tens of thousands of orphans it's left behind!!! At this time they are receiving relief along with the other survivors, but I'm afraid to imagine what will happen to them in the future. As time goes on, will our government keep thinking as much about them as it is now?
Even if the government keeps them in mind, it will only still be be symbolic relief on special holidays, and what's more, relief funds put aside for them will not necessarily arrive on time! Cases of departments at all levels intercepting and embezzling these funds happen every year, and what actually ends up where it should is just a piddle! This is why I strongly propose that the government immediately formulate the following policy: let those caring people from around the country adopt them!! What's imperative is that the government draw up the related household registration and accompanying policies. If they could all have tuition waived for the twelve years of mandatory education etc…!! This would make is less troublesome for those adopting, especially with the household registration!!!

Anti-CNN.com has also set up a new ‘Earthquake Status’ section, the top thread in which at present is a response to those making the argument online that corruption led to poorly-constructed school buildings in the Wenchuan area, which is why so many schools collapsed while government buildings remained standing: ‘Those saying that the government buildings are still in good condition can just shut their mouths’

Pioneering web 2.0 site Douban has also been at the forefront with aggregation pages like Help Wenchuan gaining thousands of users quickly; other groups set up include:

[Earthquake] How netizens have used Fanfou and Wikipedia to file real-time reports
Why the country is not accepting foreign assistance for now
Anti-poverty funds: ways to donate and know where your donation is going

There have also been prayer groups, more tips on how to donate wisely, a group to publicize new access points into cut-off Wenchuan as they are discovered, discussions over whether the torch relay ought to be put on hold, and even a group just to discuss initial photos that came out of the disaster areas. Groups set up by religious intellectuals like Wang Yi have seen numerous discussions taking place.

Some Douban groups have been deleted, but others have been set up to host discussions that were deleted off other sites. Then there's Douban's moving special earthquake page, where it turns out actually dozens of earthquake groups have been set up, each with their own avatars and many with hundreds of members.

Douban was actually one of the first to set up a space to help users find their missing loved ones. QQ's is still growing, there's even been a site set up especially for those missing from the 5-12 earthquake, and on Friday Google China released its own contribution, which builds off existing efforts underway on Tianya, Baidu, Soso, Sina and Netease.

Citizen and independent online media have been making contributions of their own. The Chinese-language entry for the 2008 Sichuan earthquake on Wikipedia was set up more quickly than its English-language counterpart, despite that Wikipedia Chinese is blocked from within China.

Citizen reporter Zuola has come out of retirement and arrived in Sichuan Friday with a shovel, batteries and medicine to help with the rescue efforts and will be sending updates to his Twitter account [zh] and late Friday night posted photos to his blog recounting what he saw from on the train to Chengdu and in the city itself, after meeting up with a local NGO:

zuola.JPG

The SocialLearnLab has posted in support of those organizing post-disaster psychological counseling for relief workers, volunteers and the victims.

Countless bloggers in Sichuan have been reporting what they see; BlogCN.com user Ayue writes of trying to go on with life and work in Chengdu, of rumored explosions and water stoppages and food shortages, long line-ups at supermarkets and having to go hungry:

lineup.jpg

Blogbus user Frees writes also of going on with life post-earthquake, and shares a picture of the crowd gathered outside the local Ikea where they work:

ikdea.jpg

Photos from Netease blogger Wan, also in Chengdu:

stadium.jpg

Baidu user Cinderella in Ya'an, Sichuan posted photos from one of her nights spent sleeping with the community outside in the park:

cfanny.jpg

One outdoor enthusiast and photographer has posted a number of photos of blood and goods donation drives from where he blogs in Leshan, and Yahoo!China blogger Puping777 has a wide variety of photos of his own, taken in devastated Beichuan while there to help out. The Wuqing blogger has photos of road slides on mountains near Aba in Sichuan province.

Well-known Bullog blogger Song Shinan, who lives near Chengdu, has been working overtime to aggregate all bits of information he can find in what has now turned into a series of highly-informative posts that are being mirrored onto his Netease blog.

Technology Sociology Science Fiction futurism blog Qixianglu, another website calling on readers to turn to their spiritual sources of support to pray for the earthquake victims, has been tracking stories related to the earthquake as they come out; part of their strategy has included a QQ group, a Douban group, and tags on Technorati, Del.icio.us, Zooomr and Flickr.

The MeMedia collective has being doing in Chinese for total coverage of Earthquake discussions what the crew at Shanghaiist have been doing in English; among all the links MeMedia has been aggregating and sharing publicly on Diigo has been the last blog post from a teacher in Beichuan who didn't survive the earthquake, photos of a school sports activity from May 11.

Entertainment reporter/blogger Tu Motuo at Bullog.cn is actually in Dujiangyan right now and has posted photos of a crumbled hospital and a city in darkness with only generators at this point with which to function.

Tang Buxi at Blogging for China has translated a blog entry from a medical volunteer at one of the sites visited by Premier Wen Jiabao this week:

I really am not used to those Sichuan provincial leaders. We’re chewing on bread rolls, and our beloved PLA Army, Armed Police warriors… they’re chewing only on dried instant noodles. But those leaders are eating two warm dishes and rice. At lunch I saw the premier while he was resting, and he was only eating a roll and salted vegetables. I cried at that moment.

Also from the MeMedia links comes a Tianya thread that's been getting passed around, ‘Photos from the earthquake disaster site that you won't see on TV!’ showing the full extent of the both human and structural damage that has taken place.

Blogger Oliver Ding has set up a community space on SlideShare for those affected by and working against the damage done by the earthquake, one of the many ways to help the earthquake victims that in turn is being shown support on Digg.

Veteran blogger Popoever has posted quite a number of graphics of different styles and sizes for those wishing to display and rally up support for relief fund-raising being carried out by Chinese Red Cross, both on his own blog and on Flickr. Several of those blog badges contain the information for a campaign Chinese Red Cross is carrying out in collaboration with China Mobile, which allows any of its hundreds of millions of users to donate 1 or 2 yuan via SMS from their mobile phones:

redcross.jpg

Perhaps as a response to concerns many bloggers have vocalized regarding donating to Chinese Red Cross, but at least in keeping in line with several previous fund-raising drives over the past two years, blog portal Bullog, which hosts many online celebrity and high-profile media workers’ blogs, was quick to launch a donation drive of its own, with accounts opened and organizers in Sichuan by the 14th. Those organizing the Bullog donation activity are some of the most well-known journalists, editors and bloggers in the country.

Support for relief efforts from English-language bloggers has been equally swift and thorough. Overall support for Red Cross China has been so strong that accessing the Red Cross website for the past several days has been difficult due to the high volumes of traffic it has been receiving.

In no particular order, here are just a few of the many blog posts foreign and English-language bloggers in China have given us in just a few hectic days:

http://www.ifgogo.com/80/how-to-donate/
http://cnreviews.com/uncategorized/china_earthquake_relief_and_donation_guide_-_will_update_20080514.html
http://cupofcha.com/2008/05/16/ways-to-donate-to-earthquake-relief.html
http://www.chinavortex.com/2008/05/how-chinese-websites-are-helping-donations-for-sichuan-earthquake-victims/
http://shanghaiist.com/2008/05/13/red_cross_society_earthquake_sichuan.php
http://beijingbookworm.com/whatsnew.htm
http://www.pandapassport.com/chinese-internet/donate-for-adspace/
http://www.lostlaowai.com/commentary/blog/2008/05/15/add-a-quake-relief-donation-badge-to-your-blogsite/
http://rconversation.blogs.com/rconversation/2008/05/help-chinas-qua.html
http://chinesepod.com/earthquake_relief
http://shanghaiist.com/2008/05/16/green_scene_how.php

With only a few handpicked pro-CCP media being allowed to report openly from the disaster scene combined with the roadslides and remote locations being the hardest hit, the not-so-new role that microblogging has played in overall coverage of the earthquake hasn't been discounted.

With sites like Summize.com making it instantly possible to see what's being said at any given time in Chinese on sites like Twitter, domestic Chinese services such as Jiwai and Fanfou took it a step further and provided their own [Earthquake] tags. On Fanfou alone there are even accounts that have been set up specifically to track developments as they unfolded; one here from charity NGO 1kg.org, and another from liveblogger ‘River Crab Goes Ashore’. On Twitter, someone has set up an account just to track seismological events in China as they take place.

With Summize.com for Twitter and Fanfou's built-in regional search options, it's quite easy to seek out those microblogging their experiences of the past few days according to location; say Guangyuan, for instance, just 15 miles away from one of the nuclear warhead plants that might have been disrupted during the quake.

Anyone who follows the ‘friends’ of the chinaquakewatch account on either Twitter or Fanfou will be given instant access to a carefully-selected group of users who have been sticking closely to microblogging the events of the last few days as they personally have seen them unfold. Aftershocks could be felt in Chengdu on Friday, and here's what several Fanfou users had to say:

10:40 am, Ameko随

中共你救不了人就快滚一边去!强烈要求境外支援!别把希望放在恶魔身上…快快自救啊中国人!!

CCP if you can't save people then hurry up and get the hell out of the way! I strongly demand for foreign assistance! Don't put your hopes on that monster…hurry up and save yourselves, China!!

11:46, parco77

现在4级左右的余震我已经开始觉得摇着爽了。摇麻木了。

I've already started to like the feeling of aftershocks at around 4.0. I've been shaken so much I'm numb.

13:28, fruitfan

又震了

Shaking again

13:29, venqia

又来

There it is again

13:29, Alex06

刚刚又震了.估计成都感觉更明显!

It just shook again just now. I bet the felt it even more in Chengdu!

13:34, Flying

刚才又晃了一下

It just shook a bit again just now

13:37, fruitfan

今天的余震还比较明显~

The aftershocks today are still quite obvious~

13:40, parco77

刚才那一个。。太震撼了= =|||。。我看到隔壁几幢楼的人纷纷又跑下楼。

That one just now…shook too strongly……I could see the people in the buildings around me running down one after the other.

14:03, yalaner

又震了?杯里的水晃着.

Did it quake again? The water in my glass is wobbling.

14:39, 橘子皇

余震一起,卖场人跑光光

The second an aftershock starts, all the people in the market bolt off

14:45, yalaner

又震了,很厉害的余震.

It shook again, that was a really strong aftershock

16:08, tokyoegg

今天中午又发生了一次余震,震感很烈。以前还不觉得,现在有点恐慌了。

There was another aftershock at noon today, it was quite intense. I haven't been feeling them until now, but that one was a bit scary.

16:13, tokyoegg

我现在坐在这里都能感觉到房子在很轻微的晃动。

Sitting here now, I can still feel the house wobbling slightly.

16:32, kake

韩国救援团,欢迎…

To the Korean rescue team, welcome…

17:20, Flying

现在四川手机卡打电话都不停机

You can phone Sichuan mobile phone numbers and get through now

18:52, tokyoegg

又来一强余震,要崩溃了!

If another aftershock comes, I'm gonna lose it!

19:28, Alex06

紧急通告:四川AB型血液告急!!!

Urgent notice: Sichuan's AB blood at emergency levels!!!

21:08, winning

花了一个小时才打通志愿者热线,却被告知只有男生才能奔赴前线,我草,你歧视咱女生么,我可是比某些男生要强悍的呀。

I spent an hour on the volunteer hotline, only to be told that only men can go to the front line. Fuck, are you discriminating against us women or what? I am tougher than some men, you know!

22:53, fruitfan

到汶川的路又断了~

The road to Wenchuan is cut off again~

(May 17) 00:16, 橘子皇

恩,这次余震持续时间比较长

Mmm, this aftershock has been going a little too long

00:16, venqia

又震了~!

Quaking again~!

00:47, Flying

据说已经有伤员转移到乐山的医院,团委什么时候可以组织我们出动啊?

They're saying the injured have already been transfered to hospitals in Leshan, is the Youth League ever going to send us out or what?

00:57, Pandaemonium

受不了我爸,每次余震都要打个电话来说一次…你不要告诉我你害怕…

I can't stand my dad, every time there's an aftershock he calls to tell me about it…please don't tell me you're afraid…

19 comments

  • subjectivelistener

    One thing I learn, the government are very serious and doing their best to settle the issue.

    In this regards, I believe Chinese should be proud of their premier and president, who showed up immediately after the earthquake and directed the whole rescue work on site.

    It is a really a blessing to have these kinds of leaders in a country.

    Also my hat is off to all the Chinese rescue soldiers and workers.

  • It is so ridiculous that this article neglect the Douban group
    “HelpWenChuan.”
    which gather more than 15,000 people within 4 days.

    The posts like
    http://www.douban.com/group/topic/3185895/
    http://www.douban.com/group/topic/3185299/
    are widely cited.

    I am the group owner with another 7 admins.
    It is just ridiculous.
    You did not see the effort we make.
    Whatever, those geeks are only love talking about buzz words.

    http://www.douban.com/group/HelpWenChuan/

  • Hi Minjie. Amazing work you’ve been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. Thank you for bringing it to my attention here.

  • God bless China,also the innocent people.
    If everyone of us can do something to help ,they would be re-construct sooner.
    No matter who are on the line, if you are alive now ,you are lucky than them, help them ,plese.
    Beg you !

  • Oliver Ding

    John,I created a short slideshow to spread this post:
    http://tinyurl.com/64gyhs

  • […] 早先就看到很多人倡议国家降半旗为死难者哀悼,小容就用设计软件制作好了一张降半旗的图片。现在政府正式公告出来了,小容就用这一张图片制作了一个新的slideshow,而后链接到Global Voices Online那里关于大陆网站祈福行动的报道。 […]

  • […] op: http://www.zonaeuropa.com http://www.globalvoicesonline.org Shanghaiist.com aardbeving, China, Foto des Tages, Onderwijs, Rampen Terug naar het […]

  • Matt Y.

    Now it’s time for mourning…
    3 days starting from today, with the national flag across the country to be flying at half mast and the Olympic flame relay on hold, will see the whole nation paying respect with a 3-minute silent mourning starting from 14:28, exactly one week after the worst earthquake in a generation.

    The only comfort is that we still see some people pulled out from the rubbles alive every day – although the hope is diminishing…

    All I can do is to donate money and blood. I’m not a professional rescuer so I wouldn’t go back to Sichuan to add to the logistic burden there.

    And the rest, is just praying and mourning.

  • 我是个学生,现在能为灾区做的仅是捐款,尽本人所能,我捐了$15和¥50.希望一点点捐款能帮助急需的同胞

  • Yianni Kouzeleas

    I have great admiration for the way that the entire population of the Great the Nation of China joint together at exactly the same time to expressed their grief from the bottom of their hearts and to encourage those who survived the tragic event and their relatives. The entire nation became one big heart.

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