Over the past week or so since the big 7.9 magnitude earth quake in China, we have seen scenes of the destruction and the suffering unlike any we have seen out of China before. One might ask, is this just a convenience to get the sympathies of the world or is the open reporting for real?
It has been amazing with reports by phone, satellite, and even video phone, seemingly coming to the world without impunity from all of the reporters there. Never before have we seen this aspect of a country that has become synonymous with human rights abuses and closed borders.
It is refreshing to see this, but then comes the ultimate question of "will it last?" Once can only hope that it does last. And now that the country goes into a three day mourning period with more than 35,000 people dead, 200,000 plus injured and millions left homeless, the situation is far from over there.
The only thing that has been a bit like the old days is China's refusal to accept most aid but that has been changing too with a team of search and rescue experts from Japan being allowed in to help in recovery efforts. Also, the world has generously offered stocks of food and water and China, unlike burma has been readily accepting this help and distributing it with no holds barred.
Everyone thought that the Olympics would change China. My feeling is that maybe it takes an act of God to change China and now that we have one, China seems to be changing very rapidly. Even dissension and questioning of the government has been allowed very openly after more than 7000 schools collapsed throughout the country. The reporting of this dissension has also been freely allowed and almost encouraged.
While China is still communist, one can only hope that now that the country has seen one of the worst natural disasters in human history, that the country can truly change and become the real world player that it has the potential of being.