On the afternoon of May 12, 2008, an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale hit Sichuan Province, a mountainous region in Western China. Over 100,000 are believed to have died in the quake. In the first few days immediately following the Sichuan earthquake, the Chinese people showed unprecedented solidarity in the rescue effort. Support for victims poured in from all over China and overseas.
The Sichuan earthquake broke the hearts of tens of thousands parents who stared helplessly at fallen school buildings where their only child lay dead under the rubble. Now the victims’ families are questioning the authorities. Why did school buildings collapse like tofu while nearby government buildings remained intact? In the first critical 72 hours, offers to help poured in from international rescue teams. Why did the Chinese authorities reject them? Why was no warning whatsoever given to the public prior to such a major earthquake? Did the Chinese authorities’ failure to alert the public contributes to the severe damage? Could the death of tens of thousands have been avoided?