Jia Xijin (贾西津): Chinese Civil Society After the 512 Earthquake
The 512 Sichuan Earthquake jolted more than half of China. The rescue process and disaster relief activities that followed the quake evolved into an operation that involved many Chinese participants. Whether through local self-organization to assist these operations or by working with NGOs, the response has been more rapid and positive than in any previous crisis. Observing this organization we can not help but think of this mobilization as an ‘NGO Year Zero’ for China. According to the experience of earthquake disaster relief, there will be 3 stages after the earthquake: life-saving, resettlement, and reconstruction.
There are four characteristics of the first stage of civil disaster relief.
First is quick joint action. On the very day when the earthquake occurred, 1 Kilo More, NGO Communication Net, and nearly twenty other NGOs based mainly in the South China Area issued an urgent and immediate appeal for NGOs to join in 512 Earthquake Aid Action. They relied on Chengdu Root & Shoot Environmental and Cultural Exchange Center to support the Government’s relief work. The next day, more than 50 NGOs had joined the Disaster Relief Aid Action Group. On May 13, Narada Foundation along with China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, China Youth Development Foundation, and others issued an initiative in Beijing to launch the ‘China NGOs Joint Declaration for Earthquake Relief Operations’, with response from more than 120 NGOs in three days.