The Post-Quake Struggle For Hearts And Minds

Li Yuanchao, who heads the Party’s Organization Department, says Party members should take a leading role in reconstruction after the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan, Xinhua reports. He emphasized the need to build Party branches at the local level.

Does that suggest that senior Party officials are concerned that NGOs have managed to occupy too much of the ground the Party would traditionally consider its own during the rescue and recovery phases of the quake relief effort? It would be a ‘hearts and minds’ battle that would have long-term ramifications if the Party were to lose it. Hence the reining-in of NGOs and the press in recent weeks.

The scale of that battle is indicated by a new quake situation map (.pdf) posted by ReliefWeb, a snapshot of which is below:

There is also a lengthy series of statistics showing the devastation the quake caused, both to individuals and property. The economic damage is put at an estimated $86 billion, but the human numbers are staggering:

2,000: No. of orphans
9,000: No. of children killed in collapsed schools
17,420: No. still missing
69,172: Official death toll
374,159: No. injured
5 million: No. homeless
10 million: No. living below poverty line
15 million: No. evacuated
46.2 millon: No. affected

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Filed under Politics & Society, Sichuan earthquake

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