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Retired policeman helps Lushan victims

By Huang Zhiling ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-04-24 17:39:31

Retired policeman helps Lushan victims

Wang Changdian visits a rural construction site in Lushan county, Sichuan province. Huang Zhiling/China Daily

 

Two earthquakes in five years weren't the first hardships for one Sichuan community, but a retired policeman with an empathy for farmers is always there to lend a hand, Huang Zhiling reports.

Wang Changdian is often stopped by villagers in Sixian township, Lushan county, Sichuan province, when his car passes their fields.

Villagers give him whatever they can pull from the fields - radishes, cabbages and leeks.

"Vegetables are not costly but they represent our appreciation for his willingness to help," says Fu Minggang, a 60-year-old farmer in Zhoucun village.

Wang, 63, is a retired policeman in the police bureau of Ya'an, a city which administers Lushan. After the magnitude-7 Lushan earthquake that killed 176 people took place on April 20, 2013, Wang volunteered to work in the mountainous Qingjiang village in Siyan to help villagers in their post-quake reconstruction.

"When the earthquake took place, I was at home on the fifth floor in Ya'an. The house was shaking and I was shivering in the toilet. I can understand how farmers felt in the quake as the quality of their houses was not good," Wang says.

"I showed sympathy for villagers who witnessed two earthquakes in less than five years. I decided to help with my experience as a policeman," he says.

Lushan was also hit in the magnitude-8 earthquake in Wenchuan county, Sichuan, on May 12, 2008, which killed 69,226 and left 17,923 missing.

Wang visited all 933 households in Qingjiang and found 46 men drove motorcycles without license plates because they did not have driving licenses.

"Farmers are particular about building materials after two earthquakes. If steel with a diameter of 14 mm is OK, they would travel by motorcycle from one place to another to find steel with a diameter of 18 mm instead," says Yang Rui, an information officer in Lushan.

The motorcycle drivers are men and the pillars of their families, but they cannot buy any insurance policy without license plates. Their families would suffer a heavy blow if an accident happened.

Wang persuaded them to take exams to get licenses. But they told him they could not because they knew nothing about computers.

"The exam consists of a theoretical test pertaining to traffic rules, in which the test-taker has to choose which is right or wrong on a computer," Wang says.

He went to a driver's training school and related the plight of the farmers. The school agreed to train each of them how to use the computer in the test for the low price of 50 yuan ($8).

"Thanks to Wang and the school, all 46 villagers passed the exams and got the licenses one month later," says Zhang Guo, a middle-aged villager.

Some 700 families in Qingjiang saw their houses collapse in the Lushan earthquake.

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