Touched by plight, people offer helping hand
Shocked at the devastation left by the Asian tsunami, ordinary people from across China have responded by opening their wallets and hearts to those in the afflicted areas.
Wang Lin, a 63-year-old retiree in Beijing, is one of them.
The old man braved his way in piercing cold Sunday to a neighbourhood committee charitable-giving site and donated 200 yuan (US$24).
"I knew the money is too little, but the most important thing is to show my sympathy to those suffering from the disaster," said Wang.
"One week ago, when I was happily preparing for the coming of New Year with my family, thousands of people in South and Southeast Asian countries said farewell forever to the sunshine of the New Year. I was stunned at that time.
"I thought I should do something for the survivors. After all, the tsunami is a disaster for all our human beings," Wang said.
Wang's word is the common voice of a massive number of people donating, including pregnant women, students, the disabled, the elderly, and parents with children.
Mu Wenting, a student at Peking University, left 20 yuan (US$2.4) at a donation box at her university Sunday.
"Humanism should go beyond the boundary of all nations," she said.
Wang Wei, a sophomore of the university, agreed. "We should do this, even if what we donate can help only one or two persons."
In Shanghai, many locals rushed to the city's Red Cross Society Sunday to donate money for the tsunami-battered countries.
A local tourist who was part of the first batch of tourists returning from Phuket, Thailand, donated 1,000 yuan (US$120). She said she would always remember the children on the beautiful beach who disappeared in the tsunami.
Two pregnant women donated 1,600 yuan (US$194) in the name of their forthcoming babies, said Xiong.
Da Mingyang, a 60-year-old woman, who lives far away from her donation venue, rode a bicycle on the still slippery streets to the society to give 4,000 yuan (US$484). She didn't take a taxi which might have cost her about 30 yuan (US$3.6).
"The donation is in regard of our whole family though it is not much to so many sufferers," Da said.
Xiong Fangjie, executive vice-president of the Shanghai Red Cross Society, told China Daily that the agency had received donations of more than 500,000 yuan (US$60,533) from those who came to the Red Cross. The sum does not include money mailed from post offices and transferred from banks.
"Our five working staffers are very busy all the day with reception, without time to relax, always answering phones and entering names of the donators," Xiong said.
He said the city will turn the first batch of donations over to the China Red Cross Society on January 4. Later on, it will report the donations to the general society in Beijing each day.
In Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangzhou Province, local people also came to the Red Cross society to give.
"An elderly woman in her 70s, walking with a limp, came to my society by herself. And a couple with their 2-year-old son, came and donated 2,000 yuan (US$242). The father said the money formerly had been prepared to celebrate his son's birthday," said Liu.