Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The May 20, 2008, issue of the New York Times reports that China is allowing aid organizations to organize is ways that are very positive in terms of earthquake relief efforts. Here is an excerpt from the article:
Beijing is instinctively wary of public activism and has long maintained tight restrictions on private charities and religious, social and environmental groups that operate outside government control. The public outpouring is so overwhelming that analysts are debating whether it will create political aftershocks and place pressure on China’s authoritarian state to allow more space for civil society.
When the quake struck, party officials initially assigned oversight of private relief efforts to the Communist Youth League, the political base of President hu Jintao. But many individuals, corporations and nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, simply rushed into action to supplement what they say is an overburdened Chinese Red Cross or to help with the rescue, according to representatives of some private citizens’ groups.
Faced with the potential for a grave humanitarian crisis, officials loosened their grip. They have since begun warning volunteers to stay out of the earthquake zone, citing safety concerns. But thousands are already there.
In Chengdu, relief volunteers have formed a command structure called the NGO Relief Action Group to coordinate 30 organizations. They have collected donations of instant noodles, biscuits, rice, medicine, clothes and bedding.
For the entire article, go to "Many Hands, Not Held by China, Aid in Quake," in the May 20, 2008, issue of the New York Times.