David Fullbrook: China, the new kid on the charity block

From the IHT:

In terms of overall giving, China is still far from the top of the international league tables. In the days after the , Beijing pledged $62 million and added $20 million more at the Jakarta aid summit a week later. Donations from ordinary Chinese come to about $35 million…

But the seeming modesty of China’s contribution shouldn’t obscure the larger significance of its response, for its neighbors and for China itself: In its first real move in the international aid game, the country has marked itself as a serious player. “Before, people in China cared more about things in China, not about the whole globe,” said Wang Guang Liang, a retired mechanical engineer. “But now they know differently, because they can get so much information.”

Thanks to the Internet and mobile phones, editors, reporters and readers, too, can dip their toes into an ocean of information barely conceivable a few years ago. This is the first time that a major foreign disaster has filled newspapers and television news bulletins.

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