Vivid Display of Great National Strength

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2011-09-21 08:53
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 A strong earthquake occurred in the area of Yushu in Qinghai Province on April 14, 2010. The extremely difficult rescue and recovery efforts and post-disaster reconstruction work that has taken place in the year since then have been led by the firm leadership of the Party and the State Council and received the strong support of the people of the entire country. This has enabled the province to launch an outstandingly successful rescue and recovery effort and a successful post-disaster reconstruction effort in an area of mountains with extremely harsh conditions and to create the “Yushu miracle” with the remarkable speed of the rescue and reconstruction undertakings.

 For one, the province achieved major victories in a very short time in rescue and recovery efforts. In the rescue and recovery stage, a total of 2,008 people were rescued from under the rubble and 225,000 people were successfully relocated. A total of 11,000 injured people were treated, 3,109 seriously injured people were transferred to hospitals outside the area and medical services were provided for 65,500 person-times. As a result, the rates of death, physical disablement and amputation were very low. In addition, order was quickly restored to transportation, commerce, work and life in the area.

 For another, the province very rapidly made achievements in the stage of post-disaster reconstruction. Reconstruction efforts in Yushu began in earnest in June 2010 and continued to the start of winter. In the short span of just a little over 5 months, 298 reconstruction projects were launched, representing an investment of 5.01 billion yuan. This allowed the completion of the reconstruction of most housing for farmers and herders, the launching of projects to rebuild most urban housing and the completion of repairing and reinforcing damaged housing, thus meeting the targets for the year. By the end of 2010, some local residents were already enjoying new housing, some school and hospital projects were nearing completion and a few infrastructure projects to support Yushu’s long-term development were successively launched or completed. While rebuilding the physical aspects of Yushu, great care was taken to preserve good social order in the disaster area and to quickly re-establish the spiritual aspects of the area. This was a crucial year in the three-year post disaster reconstruction effort. About 20 billion yuan was prepared for the effort during the year in Qinghai to meet the target of completing around 65% of all the tasks in the three-year effort. This meant ensuring that the majority of urban residents and all farmers and herders could move into new housing before the onset of winter, ensuring that at the beginning of the next spring semester all primary and middle school students could return to newly built schools and ensuring that work was started to rebuild major public services and facilities and infrastructure so that life and work could return to normal as soon as possible for all the ethnic groups of Yushu. Yushu society is now stable, the people are united and order has been maintained. The great blueprint for the new socialist Yushu is now rapidly being turned into reality.

 A glimpse of Jiegu Town, Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province (April 9, 2011). Several reconstruction projects in the town are already underway following the earthquake that struck Yushu in 2010. With the concerted efforts of cadres and the public of all ethnic groups in Qinghai Province as well as the assistance from other parts of the country, major progress has been made in the reconstruction effort so far, and a beautiful new Yushu is rising out of the rubble. / Photo by Xinhua reporter Zhang Hongxiang

 Looking back at the great efforts to recover from the earthquake and magnificent post-disaster reconstruction work, one would not refrain from asking, “How were we able to recover against all odds?” “How could we mount such a rapid response to the disaster?” “How were we able to mobilize such a strong rescue and recovery effort in such a short time?” “How were we able to ensure that post-disaster reconstruction was carried out in accordance with the law in a scientific and unified manner and ensure that the effort was strong, orderly and effective?” This was all thanks to our great national strength.

 This national strength comes from the institutional superiority of the socialist system in terms of its ability to concentrate resources to carry out major undertakings and difficult tasks. A highly efficient command structure under the firm leadership of the Party and the State Council was set up soon after the earthquake to ensure smooth implementation of government decrees from the central to the local level, from the army to the local governments and from the front lines to the rear areas, bringing the strength of the entire country to bear on the earthquake rescue and recovery effort. In addition, reconstruction efforts were organized, the master plan for post-disaster reconstruction was introduced and policies for post-disaster reconstruction were formulated at the state level. The point-to-point support mechanism therefore mainly depended on central government spending, so the support was strong, the level of spending was high and all factors were taken into consideration in an unprecedented manner. All of this clearly demonstrates the huge superiority and very high effectiveness of the socialist system, which lends strong support to the miracle on earth created by China.

 This national strength comes from the CPC’s governance philosophy of putting people first and administering the government for the people. Right from the start, Party and state leaders were active on the front lines of disaster relief and working at the front to direct operations following the Yushu earthquake. They stood firm with the people and gave first priority to the saving of lives, the restoration of normal life for residents of the disaster area and planning for the new life of local residents, once again showing that the governance of the CPC is characterized by benefit for the people. The facts once again show that only the CPC, which is firmly rooted in the people, can ensure the people can lead safe and normal lives to the greatest extent and lead the people in facing all types of challenges, overcoming all types of difficulties and creating a good life for themselves.

 This national strength comes from the loyal character of the army of the people in courageously carrying out their tasks and making selfless contributions. Mobilizing the army for disaster relief and recovery has become the norm in the international community. But China’s army, as an army of the people, has long maintained very close ties with the people. Following the strong earthquake in Yushu, the people’s army quickly converged on the disaster area to create a “great wall of steel” with their own flesh and blood to serve as the main force for rescue and recovery, the main source of comfort for the people and the strike force for post-disaster reconstruction. The army played an important role in saving lives, treating the injured, bringing in supplies, clearing rubble, safeguarding order, resettling disaster victims and assisting in reconstruction efforts. They truly served as a powerful army, cultured army and victorious army worthy of the people. 

 This national strength comes from the local Party organizations and cadres taking the lead and serving as selfless and fearless role models. In times of crisis, all Party organizations, especially those at the local level and Party cadres, demonstrated their strengths. They took the initiative in showing courage and played an important role in serving the people, creating consensus, promoting harmony and ensuring successful reconstruction. In spite of the fact that many Party cadres were among those who were saddened by the loss of their relatives and their homes, they lead the people in disaster relief and reconstruction efforts with a strong will. The Party and national flags seen throughout the disaster area tell the people that the Party and the government are with the people. The red badge proclaiming “Party member” worn by all Party members tells the people that Party cadres are by their side. It could be said that the example set by all levels of Party organizations and the many Party cadres in their great kindness, great wisdom, great courage and great love in times of crisis has shown the people that the Party wholeheartedly serves the people and shown them that they can always depend on the Party. The facts show that the major role of all levels of Party committees and governments in the disaster area, the role of the many Party cadres in setting an example and the stronghold role of local Party organizations were the three key elements responsible for the success in combating the impact of the earthquake.

 This national strength comes from the limitless love that crystallized among the billions of people in the country and the national spirit of coming together to overcome difficulties. In the face of the disaster, the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation fully demonstrated the traditional moral value and spirit of contribution of “one for all and all for one.” People across the country enthusiastically contributed materially and psychologically to the disaster area. The many volunteers selflessly mounted a concerted effort to overcome the national tragedy. The Han, Tibetan and Hui people in the disaster area bonded together to help each other and overcome difficulties. Religious believers, especially the many Lama monks, actively participated in recovery and reconstruction work. The tens of thousands of people from all over the country who helped in the rebuilding worked day and night together with the local cadres and people, transforming the disaster area with remarkable speed and creating a miracle. All of this amply demonstrates the great cohesiveness, centripetal force and combat capability of the Chinese nation, which led to the formation of the powerful force to ensure that Yushu would not fall and Qinghai would continue to flourish, thereby demonstrating China’s national spirit and national strength!

 In summary, the struggle to recover from the earthquake in Yushu, Qinghai strongly showed China’s patriotic tradition, strongly demonstrated the superiority of China’s political system, strongly trumpeted solidarity and progress among ethnic groups and allowed for great improvement in the country’s ability to prevent and reduce the severity of disasters. Once again it was demonstrated to the world that the socialist system with Chinese characteristics was the inevitable choice by the CPC in leading the Chinese people through a difficult process of trial and error. It is the system that is suitable for conditions in China, is in line with the common interests of all the people of the country and has incomparable and unsurpassed advantages and strength.

 Thoroughly studying the national strength demonstrated by the rescue and recovery effort following the Yushu earthquake has profound theoretical and practical significance. In terms of theoretical significance, it will help us add more valuable experience in how to address emergencies and handle natural disasters, deepen our awareness of the superiority of the socialist system and strengthen our confidence and resolve in following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. In terms of practical significance, it will help us fully tap the potential of China’s national strength, raise the country’s ability to prevent disaster and reduce its impact, accelerate the process of building a new socialist Yushu and new Qinghai, and hasten the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

 We must enrich the implications of national strength by carrying forward the spirit of the Yushu earthquake rescue and recovery effort. During this effort, everyone in Qinghai Province from top to bottom formed and demonstrated a spirit of “great love and sympathy, perseverance, meeting extreme challenges and sincere effort.” This is a concentrated expression of China’s national strength in this struggle. The “great love and sympathy” refers to the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation as they demonstrated their close emotional ties to the disaster victims and showed that blood is thicker than water, love is weightier than a mountain and feeling is deeper than the ocean and showed their powerful combat capability as they came together as one to form a united force. The “perseverance” was demonstrated by the people’s tireless efforts, courage to go on and limitless strength in carrying out tasks in the face of the disaster. The “extreme challenges” were presented by the snowy conditions in this special high plateau area with its special environment and special conditions. The people courageously dealt with these challenges that tested their physical, spiritual and survival limits. The “sincere effort” means that people turned their intellectual and emotional gratitude toward the CPC, the State Council, the PLA and all the people of the country into actual action by working hard to rebuild their home. The spirit of the Yushu rescue and recovery effort is a concentrated reflection of the actual experience of all the ethnic groups of Qinghai ceaselessly struggling for many years against natural disasters. It fully shows how all the ethnic groups of Qinghai are united and harmonious and preserve an excellent characteristic of mutual help in times of need. It provides a vivid portrayal of the strong desire of all the ethnic groups of Qinghai for development and progress. The rescue and recovery efforts, along with the five special characteristics of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau developed over many years, the consciousness of self-confidence, opening up and innovation, and the practical spirit of working ten-times as hard as the next man have formed the spirit of the new Qinghai that reflects the character of the times. This spirit is a concrete expression in Qinghai of the great spirit shown in earthquake rescue and recovery efforts in which the people came together to form a united force to brave difficulties and dangers and overcome all obstacles, putting people first and respecting the laws of science and the concrete expression in Qinghai of China’s great national strength. We must carefully study the internal mechanism and essential nature of the spirit of the rescue and recovery effort that followed the Yushu earthquake as well as their relationship with China’s national spirit and strength in order to enrich and develop the country’s national strength. We then need to translate this spirit into a firm will and concrete action for the hard struggle of rebuilding Yushu and translate it into a belief in invincibility and strong drive for a concerted effort to build a new Qinghai.

 We should accelerate the building of a new socialist Yushu and prosperous, cultured and harmonious new Qinghai. The post-disaster reconstruction effort in Yushu is the largest such project ever undertaken in human history in a high altitude plateau area. Conditions in the area are extreme, ecological protection is extremely important and ethnic and religious work is extremely complex and heavy. For this reason, we must carry out a systematic study, take all factors into consideration and make overall improvements, rather than simply copying previous reconstruction efforts. The master blueprint for this project has already been drawn. The overall goal is to strive for basic completion of the main recovery and reconstruction tasks within 3 years in accordance with the call of General Secretary Hu Jintao to accomplish major improvements in standards of living and the ecological environment. This project should completely return living conditions and economic and social development to normal and exceed the pre-disaster level, truly protect and improve the ecological environment, and quickly and successfully rebuild new schools and homes. It should lay a solid foundation for developing an economically developed, safe and harmonious new socialist Yushu with a good ecological environment and its own distinct character. We should take full advantage of the special policy of the central government for Yushu in working out solutions for new situations and new problems in the management structure, operational mechanisms and work measures in the post-disaster reconstruction. We should take full advantage of the powerful, experienced and highly skilled reconstruction force and the country’s national strength to ensure that the goals for building a new socialist Yushu are met on schedule. In addition, we should also carefully study institutional measures to draw support from the national strength such as mechanisms for direct assistance to the Tibet ethnic area in Qinghai from central government departments and committees, enterprises and more developed provinces and municipalities to work out an effective model for state support of development in ethnic minority areas through the development of the Tibet ethnic area in Qinghai.

 We must further promote the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation by deepening our understanding of the Chinese model and the Chinese path. A country’s national strength is a concentrated expression of its willpower and overall strength, including tangible elements such as the economy, technology and the military and intangible elements such as national unity, national will and national spirit. Experience has convincingly shown that the country’s national strength has increased tremendously over the past three decades and more through implementation of the reform and opening up policy. It could be said that without the powerful overall national strength formed over the past three decades and more of the reform and opening up drive, the solid material support and powerful technical guarantees for this rescue and recovery effort following the earthquake would not have been possible. Without the comprehensive promotion of institutional reform and innovation of the past 30 years and more, today’s highly efficient national management capacity and coordinated and concerted efforts of the emergency response system would not have been possible. This is the strength of the Chinese model and the Chinese path, the national strength of socialist China. The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the essential path for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the basic guarantee for the country’s national strength. Only by relying on the superiority of the socialist system and mobilizing all forms of positive factors to the greatest extent can we overcome all difficulties on the road ahead and go from victory to victory in our undertakings.

(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No.9, 2011)

Note: Author: Secretary of the CPC Qinghai Provincial Committee

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 Yushu Earthquake

 In the early hours of April 14, 2010, Yushu, Qinghai Province was struck by two earthquakes that reached a maximum magnitude of 7.1. The epicenter of the quake was near the county seat. The first earthquake registered a magnitude of 4.7 and occurred at 05:39:57 at 33.1ºN latitude, 96.6ºE longitude at a depth of 6km. Reference position: Rima Village, Laxiu Township, Yushu County, Yushu Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province. The second earthquake registered a magnitude of 7.1 and occurred at 07:49:40 at 33.1ºN latitude, 96.7ºE longitude at a depth of 33km (later revised to 14km). Reference position: Rima Village, Laxiu Township, Yushu County, Yushu Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province. A third earthquake occurred later that morning that registered a magnitude of 6.2 at 09:25:17.8 at 33.2ºN latitude, 96.6ºE longitude at a depth of 30km. Reference position: Rima Village, Laxiu Township, Yushu County, Yushu Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province. Type of quake: The Yushu earthquake was a strong shallow-source earthquake.

 The Yushu earthquake affected the counties of Yushu, Chiudu, Zhidoi, Zadoi, Nanqen and Qumarle in Yushu Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province and Shiqu County, Garze Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province and other areas totaling 27 towns and townships in 7 counties. The disaster area totaled 35,862 square kilometers and affected 246,842 people. The Yushu earthquake caused major damages to the lives and property of the people in the disaster area. A great deal of residential housing was destroyed, schools, hospitals and other public service facilities were seriously damaged, some public roads and bridges collapsed and power, water and communication facilities were damaged. Agricultural and animal husbandry production facilities were damaged and a great deal of livestock was destroyed and commerce and trade, tourism, finance and the processing industry suffered heavy losses. Landslides on mountains and hills seriously threatened the ecological environment.

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