A 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Lushan county of Ya'an in Sichuan Province Saturday morning, leaving hundreds dead and tens of thousands injured. The global media has praised China's relief work as "quick," but this didn't help diminish the sorrow brought about by the earthquake. This is another sad event in China's history.
Some of the worst examples of humanity's struggles with nature can be found in China. The country's numerous disasters and the scale of each of these make China a sad expert in this area. The relief capability of the Chinese government is key to the aftermath of these disasters. The efficiency of its relief work will influence the public's evaluation of the government or even the country's stability as a whole.
The development of a civil society has been playing a prominent role in the relief work this time. Private organizations have been more willing to take an active role in recent years. Any misdeeds by individuals or organizations may be disastrous to their own image.
A number of experts and opinion leaders have called for China to create a proper disaster preparation plan instead of simply providing relief after a disaster occurs.
The Lushan earthquake reflects that society has become more advanced in making concerted efforts during such tragedies since the Wenchuan earthquake took place five years ago. The diverse opinion sphere in recent years has helped unite people's minds.
China's disaster relief capability has been greatly improved. However, its preparation ahead of disasters has been relatively weak, triggering a lot of criticism.
The level of destruction of people's houses is more serious than that in developed countries. The central government can distribute all resources to carry out relief work, but disaster preparedness needs larger-scale economic prowess. To strengthen the preparation capabilities for disasters, investments from the government, enterprises and individuals are needed. This cannot be done overnight but will be a gradual step along with China's economic development.
To reduce the number of casualties, public training ahead of time is also needed. But in a developing society, it is not easy to raise the general level of interest in joining such training courses.
Disasters such as earthquakes have repeatedly become the focus of social attention. The disaster relief process is also one in which social rationality is gradually formed.
Rescuing lives is the absolute priority and society is playing an effective role in the relief work. The maturity of the relief mechanism comes from social development. China, as a "disaster-relief community," has found reasons to be confident.