China Focus

Swift Chinese relief for Haiti displays sympathism

Updated: 2010-01-17 19:22
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BEIJING: China, with fresh memories of the 2008 devastating earthquake in its southwestern region, promptly sent emergency relief to quake-stricken Haiti, showing its full sympathism and winning wide acclaim.

Shortly after the Haitian quake, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao instructed related departments to get ready for providing assistance.

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A 60-member Chinese rescue team has been combing the debris for traces of life in Port-au-Prince, capital of Haiti, where they arrived early Thursday. The team on Friday set up a medical assistance station, the first by a foreign rescue team.

The Chinese people share the feelings of the Haitians partly because memories of the magnitude-8.0 quake that hit Wenchuan, Sichuan province, in 2008 are still fresh.

"Because of Wenchuan, Haiti is not far away from us," one Chinese netizen wrote.

After that quake, China received assistance from across the world. This time, China, still feeling grateful, extends its helping hand to the Haitians.

In a latest move, a Chinese cargo plane carrying 90 tons of emergency humanitarian aid for Haiti took off from Beijing on Saturday.

The relief supplies included tents, stretchers, food, medicine, clothing and water purifying equipment. They were the first batch of a 30-million-yuan ($4.41-million) relief package announced by the Chinese government.

To the Haitians, China's immediate assistance sends a reassuring message that they are not alone in their struggle to cope with the catastrophe.

Meanwhile, China's swift reaction also attracted wide attention and praise.

Japan's Sankei Shimbun daily said it was remarkable that China displayed unprecedented rapid reaction ability as the Chinese rescue team was the first one to arrive in Haiti. The newspaper also lauded Chinese netizens' humanitarian sentiment.

Both the Voice of America and the Christian Science Monitor noted that the absence of a diplomatic relationship didn't hinder China's assistance to Haiti.