One Year Ago

A year ago, we were glued to our televisions and computers, like so many others in China and around the world, watching a tragedy unfold in Sichuan. The news we saw from the earthquake zone was bleak and heartbreaking.

Several news sites have run memorials, one-year on, and we’ve selected a few of those in the reader below. We also point you to some of the coverage we ran at China Beat in the days that followed.

1.One of the things Kathryn Edgerton-Tarpley stressed in a piece for China Beat last May was that Chinese volunteerism was not a brand-new phenomenon, instead linking to a strain in the late Qing. The volunteer spirit that has emerged in response to the earthquake, however, has continued to draw attention, as in this piece at the Christian Science Monitor.

2.China has officially expressed its “gratitude” for international aid, a situation many were tracking a year ago.

3. Richard Kraus noted the historical resonances of the efforts to preserve “Grandpa” Wen’s calligraphy in Sichuan. Wen Jiabao’s written words have continued to be a source of interest, as shown by this piece about Wen sending handwritten notes to earthquake survivors.

4.The Chinese Red Cross has continued to be an important source of aid to survivors, as discussed in this piece from the Telegraph. In a two-part piece last year, Caroline Reeves wrote about the history of the Chinese Red Cross (part 1, part 2).

5.Some of you may remember that NPR reporters Melissa Block and Robert Siegel were coincidentally in Sichuan when the earthquake struck. NPR has been providing in-depth one-year coverage of the earthquake, including this piece on the sensitive topic of children who died in their classrooms. In a piece last spring, Peter Hessler relayed correspondence with his former students—about whom he wrote in River Town—immediately after the earthquake, many discussing the events at their local schools.

We ran a few other pieces at CB one year ago that readers may continue to find interesting (if you didn’t read them the first time around): Susan Brownell’s consideration of the Tangshan earthquake and the Montreal Olympics, Steve Smith’s investigation of the role rumor played in the Sichuan earthquake, and Don Sutton’s piece on the mourning rituals after the earthquake.