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China:国殇; survival stories in QUAKE

We live in Shenzhen.

Yesterday, when my mom was in a taxi home, she heard the driver muttering, “I have stopped my work for the entire 2 last days.”

“Why so?” curiously asking.

After a while of silence, he sighed: “I have been riveted by the TV, watching closely what was happening in Sichuan about the earthquake, not feeling like to budge at all…”

Listening to my mom tell about a common cab driver in a coastal city thousands of miles away from the epicenter, nevertheless pouring all his attention to another part of the country, I understand why the quake this time should be called a trauma of the whole China ——no matter where one is, what one does, he/she has been in these days mentally and even physically, a lot of them, connected to where people have been suffering the most.

Thrilled, panicked, confused, poor at utterance, then bursting into an emotional crack, finally into deep pathos, this mental process might have stricken a great many of the 1.3 billion Chinese in these days, regardless of the remoteness of their being from the epicenter.

At this point, all Chinese are all the same. That’s why shortly after the quake, a saying emerged on hundreds of net forums, websites, and text messages:

At this moment, we are all Sichuaners.

Survival stories————————————-School came to be where funerals happened.

Shattered schools formed the most agonizing pictures in this earthquake. Their easy collapses took thousands of innocent children away. The authority has promised to check who should be responsible for these shoddy constructions.

Beichuan middle school

A shattered school

Precious young lives were buried by such a low quality, but also a lot got saved, primarily, by their teachers.

Among those names tied to the crisis and unforgotten by China, teachers’ take up a notable place. They brought hope to children.

girl teacher

This girl teacher is only 20. In the school in Shifang where she worked, she ran time after time into the 3-story teaching building to save the best she could. While at the last time she got buried forever. 13 students were saved by her.

In Shifang as well, a reporter from Chongqing recorded how a girl got her life saved by a teacher.

王周明是名年轻教师,是50多名学生的班主任。地震发生时,他指挥学生分两路,从教室的前、后门逃生。房屋垮塌的一瞬间,他一个箭步冲上前去,把还没跑出教室的一名女生推出教室。这时,一根粗大的横梁打在他头上,他的头盖骨被击碎……

Wang Zhouming is a young teacher, who takes charge of 50 students. When the tremor occurred, he led the students to escape from 2 ways, the front and back door separately. Exactly at the time when the house crumbling to dust, he rushed to a girl and pushed her away, hit dead by a crossbeam on the head himself.

At the same school, another teacher protected 3 girls with her own body.

Moreover, in a middle school at Deyang, Hanwan town(德阳,汉汪镇), a rescue crew described what he saw on the relic:

我们发现他的时候,他双臂张开着趴在课桌上,身下还死死地护着4个学生,4个学生都活了!”

When we found him (a teacher), he stretched his arms lying on the desk, with 4 students protected under his body. They are all alive, except the teacher.

In a report from China-army net, a journalist told what he witnessed at a kindergarten in Beichuan county, where so far over 8000 have been killed.

很快,这个叫成思羽的女孩也救出来了。此刻,战士被眼前的场景惊呆了——在孩子身边,竟紧紧地围着3个雕像般凝固住女老师。显然,她们在生命最后的时刻,用自己的躯体保护住了孩子……

…..Very soon, the girl named Cheng-siyu was rescued. But the soldiers were then stunned at the scene——right around the kid 3 statue-like female teachers were embosoming her. Obviously, they protected the kid at the last moment of their life.

Beichuan (北川)county, a devastated town, a dead place, fell down in the quake waves. Troops spent quite a few hours before they managed to enter the town due to the landslide and broken roads.

How a journalist described such a flattened place is here

记者摸着巨石,踩着泥泞,手脚并用,好久才能下到几十米深的县城。当记者进入灾后的川北县城时,实在不敢相信眼前的惨状:整个县城内的楼房几乎无一完整,大部分被夷为平地、一片狼藉,几处废墟还冒着浓浓的黑烟。抗震救援的车队、人群不时掠过。
而更令人恐惧的是,每一处堆积如山的废墟下,都可能埋着受困的群众。据了解,这个拥有1万多人口的小城,目前确切证实成功逃生的仅4000余人。

I followed huge rocks and creeped upon mud with my hands and legs, taking hours trying to down to the county meters below. I could hardly believe what was exposed in front of me: not a single house is intact, most of them flattened, all the mess, and a few relics still smoking. Trucks and rescuers rowed past.
A more grisly fact is that under every huge debris there could be trapped people. As far as I know, only 4000 of the total 10000 here have survived.

beichuan county

The town witnessed numerous touching, saddening moments.

In the first days the town is hardly accessible, because the roads had not yet been repaired.

Thus little rescue was available. But even before the first soldier managed to rush in, 7 teachers had led 72 students to fight a way out, along a winding path in the mountains to the world outside. They marched for 6 hours, during which they had to avoid all the falling rocks and periodic aftershocks, and pouring rain.

7 72

The 72 kids were finally safe.

The thirst for survival drove many to risk all the adversity to struggle a way out. A couple went further than the teachers and students aforementioned. After collecting some money from their shattered house, the couple spent 30 hours trudging through 6 mountains and running to the world outside.

And so were this pair of children!

sister and brother
The brother, Zhang-jiwan, carried his 3-year-old sister on the back, and rushed out of Beichuan County. They had spent 12 hours before the reporter took the picture and helped them to Mainyang. Their parents were migrant workers, not at home. Their grandparents were too old to walk fast. The boy thus took the responsibility like a man.

Over 1 thousand victims have escaped from their hometown, Beichuan, on feet through the mountains, under falling rocks and rain, to find the new hope of life.

Also in Beichuan.

So many flesh monuments have explained what human nature is.

A personal note of a journalist writes:

在县城一处倒塌的房前,一面平移了四五米的墙壁死死地压在两个大人身上,大人身下又护着一位小女 孩。人们纷纷谈论,将孩子护在身下的肯定是小女孩的家长,危难关头.

In a collapsed house in the county, a shifting wall tightly pressed upon two adults, with one little girl lying under them. People talked over, that it must be the parents that protected their child at the crisis.

People sacrificed  more or less for their life.

Yue-yue, a girl whose primary school of totally 500 children was destroyed by a landslide, got buried for 3 days. Her left leg was pressed under the relic, unable to be moved out. The rescuers had to make the tough decision to amputate the leg.

Chen, the doctor, heard Yue-yue imploring: please!Just don’t cut off my leg.”

20 minutes, after the necessary surgery, she was pulled out. And Yue-yue asked,” Am I the bravest?”

Chen couldn’t help but covered his eyes……
yueyue

But her schoolmate Fan-quanyan was not so lucky. After 60 hours being trapped under the relic, she was saved. But shortly after 10 minutes, not even before the crowd could take time to celebrate, her breath ceased.

A tall and strong soldier kneeled down by her, saying,” sorry, I am so sorry…..”
fan quanyan

And the following pictures were taken exactly one day (7 hours, actually) before the earthquake.

senior3 kids 1
senior3 kids 2
The senior 3 kids of Beichuan middle school were taking a chance to relax, as the fate-determined college entrance exam was approaching.

People found the pictures from a blog of Mr. Tang, a teacher there. After the quake, though thousands of anxious netizens were waiting for this blogger, the blog was not updated. People came to moan that the kids were never more, only their smiling preserved. The middle school had 1200 students buried in this tremor.

But finally, reporters from South Metropolis Daily found the teacher, and the great news is, all the kids on the pictures were safe! Their building narrowly escaped the disaster.

How many more survival stories should I account to record so deep a cut on China but so strong a will of Chinese for survival? It’ll never be sufficient.

What could have supported those victims’ will of survival after being buried under the relic for tens of hours, in a confined space, without sustenance, without a slight voice from outside, and without any light?It might be just a bottle of Coke.

The boy, Xue-Xiao, 17, was finally rescued out after 80 hours stranded. His first words are: “I want a Coke…”
“Sure, soon!” rescuers answered.
“And cool Coke.” He added.
coke boy

The Coke boy

The boy was hotly discussed on the internet, the footage recording the scene by CCTV widely circulated. Some thought Coke should really pay him for the advertisement, and some questioned the boy was too addicted. But most people just thought he was so optimistic and innocent.

But those chiding the boy of saying so trivial a thing should be regretting. The boy’s right hand and leg were all necrotic, soon being amputated. He could no longer take up a coke with his habitual hand.

Another man, after being trapped for 129 hours, got saved. And 2 hours later, he passed away. The tough-minded life passed away at the very last moment.

The story of a mom should be proper to end this article. (A rough translation)

抢救人员发现她的时候,她已经死了,是被垮塌下来的房子压死的,透过那一堆废墟的的间隙可以看到她死亡的姿势,双膝跪着,整个上身向前匍匐着,双手扶着地 支撑着身体,有些象古人行跪拜礼,只是身体被压的变形了,看上去有些诡异。救援人员从废墟的空隙伸手进去确认了她已经死亡,又在冲着废墟喊了几声,用撬棍 在在砖头上敲了几下,里面没有任何回应

She was found dead under the collapsed house, kneeling down, creeping and leaning forward, both hands on the ground holding her body…..

经过一番努力,人们小心的把挡着她的废墟清理开,在她的身体下面躺着她的孩子,包在一个红色带黄花的小被子里,大概有3、4个月大,因为母亲身体庇护着,他毫发未伤,抱出来的时候,他还安静的睡着,他熟睡的脸让所有在场的人感到很温暖。

Suddenly, people found a 3-4 month baby under her body, wrapped in a red-yellow quilt. Because of the mother’s protecting, he remained unhurt. He was sleeping so peacefully, making all the people around warm.

随行的医生过来解开被子准备做些检查,发现有一部手机塞在被子里,医生下意识的看了下手机屏幕,发现屏幕上是一条已经写好的短信“亲爱的宝贝,如果你能活着,一定要记住我爱你”,看惯了生离死别的医生却在这一刻落泪了,手机传递着,每个看到短信的人都落泪了。

When the doctors were examining the kid, a cell phone was found inside the quilt. An already written text message appeared on the screen.
“Dear baby, if you are alive, please remember I love you.”

baby,new life

The baby. Her mother's gone. But isn't it herself a symbol of new life, the new life of all those suffered so much?

74 comments

  • Eric hu

    The stories and pictures are killing me these days…. Thanks for sharing and bless them.

  • Nathan

    May the dead rest in peace. May the people who are alive be strong and live on.

  • Knights

    Everytime I look at pictures, tears stream down my eyes. AW, I want to adopt the baby in the picture. Where can I get more information?

  • Tracy

    I’m so moved by these touching stories these days, especially the great mother. God bless the people in Sichuang province. God bless China.

  • China’s heroic teachers…

    I recently wrote about the problem of po…

  • Knights

    Is he an orphan though, sadly his mom is gone, but what about his dad?

  • Knights

    Thanks Bob Chen for putting this story out.

    I have been comparing CNN reports with other news sources such as Chinese Newspapers etc. CNN is objective to a certain degree this time. However I do not see stories like this. Even John Kennedy did not bother to publish positive news like this. very interesting, do you feel the same?

  • Knights

    I am not good at writting poem such as many poems written by Chinese on the Internet.

    Here is a simple “HEART” written by me.

    (H)umanity relief workers, soldiers (People’s Liberation Army), doctors, nurses, police, and civilian volunteers unite at all fronts to pour out all their efforts to rescue and help
    (E)arthquake victims
    (A)mid the continuous threat from mother nature such as torrential rain, aftershocks, landslides, and other obstacles. Millions of dollars, as well as supplies such as tents, clothes, food, medicine, and water have are donated to this rescuing effort. We will see
    (R)rainbows after this horrible tragic incident. May the deceased rest in peace, and the surviving victims looking forward to a better
    (T)omorrow!

  • Knights

    Dalai’s visit to Germany is INhuman. At this point he should be raising funds for the victims and preaching peace. He is more evil than I thought he was.

  • Wei

    I need to stop reading these at work…

    I hope the best for the people and I hope the management of the aid can be distributed without waste and corruption so those people can get back to their feet quickly.

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