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Show of Web Support for Yushu Quake Survivors

China Daily, April 14, 2011 Adjust font size:

Orphaned last year by a 7.1-magnitude quake on April 14 that demolished her home, Dekyi Chutso, 10, has had to endure the pain of utter loneliness.

One year on, she longs for books to keep her company. What she misses most is her mother reading stories to her.

After joining an online donation program that seeks celebrities to grant the wishes of 60 quake orphans, Dekyi's wish went public on Monday on, a popular Twitter-like Chinese micro blog run by Sina, a major news portal.

Her wish attracted nearly 300 replies pledging donations, while the program, jointly run by Weibo and Qinghai TV, had attracted more than 9,000 posts by Wednesday.

In the 12 months since the quake, which claimed more than 2,200 lives, online prayer sessions have been held for the survivors and donations have poured in via the Internet.

The quake devastated the town of Gyegu, the epicenter and seat of the Yushu prefectural government, leaving more than 100,000 residents homeless. Yushu is located in the northwestern province of Qinghai and inhabited largely by Tibetans.

As of July 9 last year, nearly 10.66 billion yuan (US$1.6 billion) worth of funds and goods were donated to help Yushu's reconstruction. Earlier that month, the government launched a three-year reconstruction plan with a planned investment of 31.7 billion yuan.

"Is Child Magazine OK? It has good stories. Please tell me the address, postcode, and recipient," said a Web user, who goes by the name of Ning, in a website reply.

Web users have left messages pledging books and requesting further information on how to deliver donations.

Other Internet charity programs pledge to donate books to children in the quake region and raise funds.

A search for "Yushu quake" on Weibo found that more than 150,000 entries with the phrase had been posted in the last 24 hours.

These entries include expressions of sympathy for the survivors, praise for people's fortitude and some recall the moment they heard of the devastating quake.

One entry from Gyaco, a Tibetan living buddha who has 281,646 followers on, starts with the sense of grief he felt when he heard about the quake but ends in a hopeful prayer.

"To those who passed away in the quake, please rest in peace wherever you are. Your home is now under reconstruction ... Every pious believer, like us, prays for you with our palms crossed," it said.

Another micro blog user "Chen Gang" noted that religion may help console people in Yushu, many of them Tibetan Buddhists, as the anniversary approaches.

There were thousands of monasteries in the quake region. The number of monks, nuns and other religious personnel there is estimated at 23,000, according to local government data.

The Chinese government last year launched a massive project to spend millions of dollars to restore 87 damaged monasteries in the prefecture.

"People's faith in religion is more solid than any building," Chen Gang said on weibo. com.

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