When Politics and Corruption Hurt People in China and Burma

A picturesque Chinese region becomes a scene of anguish as residents rush home, only to find their loved ones buried under landslides.


Not all buildings collapsed, but a lot of schools yes. It emphasizes the fact that education in many areas are under-funded.

Parents who lost their only-one child (Chinese birth policy) are now crying but we start to hear strong anger over school construction and corruption linked to it.

Beside, we can see that all people are doing their best in China by participating to the rescue or making donation (money, food, clothes…).

But time is running very fast. Political starts now to say that time is crucial and chances to find survivors buried under rumble are diminishing.

Of course, it is common sense. But in that case, why did they refuse any foreign rescue team until yesterday? Almost one week after the disaster?

Answers from all around are clear: political have to show to the population through the TV news that they are able to handle the problem and that they are doing every possible thing to save people.

But maybe more people would have been saved if more rescuers were allowed from the beginning.

In Burma, the situation is worst.

If in China, at least people are working day and night to rescue and take care of survivors, it seems that in Burma, survivors are totally forgotten.

Official toll is 78,000 people. But many international specialists as the Red Cross or the British government’s Department for International Development suggest the number of dead or missing is in the region of 217,000.

Beside, after the cyclone, several storms and heavy rains are making the situation for the survivors, worst.


The Red Cross warned that a lack of clean water may swell the ranks of the dead.

The junta maintains it has the situation under control. But after two weeks, the U.N. remains largely in the dark about the situation on the ground.

And locals confirm when it is possible, that not only survivors are begging any kind of help, but rumors about foreign aid stolen by military are spreading.

Burma authorized aid to be sent there but the U.N. says the regime has issued only 40 visas to its staffers and another 46 to non-government agencies and has confined the personnel to the immediate Yangon area. Useless…

Marshall, the U.N. official, said the military has set up checkpoints on the two main roads to the delta to keep foreigners out of the disaster zone. Even local staff have to negotiate with the military to gain access to the camps.

In the meantime, ordinary people are stepping in, with shopkeepers handing out rice gruel and medical students caring for the sick.

But the government was reportedly interfering with those efforts as well.

In an interview with the Democratic Voice of Burma, the abbot of Mandalay’s Maha Gandaryon monastery said monks were stockpiling relief supplies and getting trucks to take in aid.

“We are still in the preparation stages,” he told the radio, which is critical of the junta. “We have contacted some private organizations and services, and found out that they were told by the authorities not to work with us in aid distribution. They said we can’t go with them.”

Even a serious dispute occurred yesterday between the Burma’s ambassador in U.N. and the one from France.

France sent a military ship from an Indian port (helicopters carrier) with 1,500 tons of food, drugs and medication.

But not only Burma refused to let the ship entering national waters, it accused France for sending a war ship!

In some other circumstances, we could find that funny, ironic and/or stupid.

But now, it is dramatic. People are dying…

I remember that China is a strong supporter and partner of Burma.

Why China does not put its weight on it?


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One Response

  1. […] Grief Turns to Anger Posted on May 31, 2008 by fvarga In a previous post about China and the horrible earthquake, I wrote about parents who are crying after their children […]

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