Reference: Recalling The Big Earthquake of Tangshan
(Clearwisdom.net) After the deadliest earthquake of the last century, the Chinese government refused all offers of help from other countries and the international Red Cross in order to prevent the real situation of the disaster from being reported. It preferred to refuse international assistance in the forms of manpower, materials, and financial resources, and instead, to let the people trapped under the rubble die where they had fallen. Hundreds of thousands of lives perished in that natural disaster. As an entity, the Chinese Communist Party has never valued human life when it comes to protecting its own power. History has shown that the merciless and smothering nature of the Chinese Communist Party never has and never will change.
(Reported by Yang Fan from Beijing for Voice of America) The suffering brought on by the tsunami in Asia is still what most Chinese people are focused on. When people talk about the tsunami created by the earthquake, the conversation often leads to the big earthquake in Tangshan City in 1976. For those who lived through the most devastating earthquake of the last century in Beijing, Tianjin and Tangshan, the big earthquake of Tangshan remains fresh in their memories.
Chinese viewers have been watching the dramatic scenes left behind by the tsunami on television every day. However, other than heartfelt grief for the victims, more than anything, it brings back memories of the big earthquake of Tangshan 28 years ago. A retired Beijing resident, Ms. Qi said, "We've all seen the news on television these past few days. The death toll keeps rising. Everyone is talking about it when they get together. It's really sad. It reminds me of the Big Earthquake of Tangshan. I was 28 years old then and it was close to the expected date of my second child's birth. We were sleeping in the middle of the night and were woken up because the bed was shaking violently. My husband said there was an earthquake, so we grabbed a towel, wrapped our child in it and ran out."
The city of Tangshan was razed to the ground in seconds
History will remember this day forever. On July 28, 1976, at 3:42 a.m., a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Tangshan, a heavy industrial city in northern China. There were flashes of lightning in the sky and loud roaring noises accompanied by fierce wind. As the earth started to shake, a city with a million residents was razed to the ground in seconds. Mr. Tang recalls, "I was living in the city at that time. When the earthquake hit, almost all the buildings in the city were suddenly gone. Buildings with two or more stories collapsed. One-story buildings also collapsed. All my fingers were smashed. We lived in a one-story building, and it collapsed as we were running out. It was very quick. In a few shakes, all the lights went out. Everything started shaking and collapsing. It was extremely frightening."
The miserable cries sounded like the end of the world had come
Mr. Ji Zhiping was a buyer in the purchasing department of the Tangshan Internal Combustion Engine Factory at the time of the earthquake. He is the sole survivor of his family. He said he was woken up by the strong shakes and was buried under the collapsed building before he even realized what had happened. Fortunately, a bicycle on top of him separated him from the fallen debris and left room for him to breathe. But his feet were caught between two floor slabs and he wasn't able to move. He said, "The situation was so tragic. People were buried alive. There were crying and moaning sounds from people who had not been crushed to death. It was pitiful. Several dozen buildings collapsed in the surrounding area. Several thousand people were buried underneath. The cries sounded like the end of the world had come."
The deadliest earthquake of the 20th century
Since the center of the earthquake was only 16 kilometers (about 10 miles) below the surface, the casualty count was huge. According to a description given in the book, The Big Earthquake of Tangshan, the power of the earthquake was the equivalent to 400 times the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. According to Chinese official estimates, 242,000 people died in the earthquake and over 164,000 people were seriously injured in Tangshan, Tianjin, Beijing and the surrounding areas. The earthquake destroyed the entire city of Tangshan and the damage was over 10 billion yuan (Chinese currency). It was the deadliest earthquake in the 20th century.
Chinese government refused aid
After the earthquake, many countries offered money and relief materials to help the people in the disaster stricken areas, but the government of China refused them all. In the disaster area, however, something no one had seen before appeared: shelters for earthquake victims. All the public areas such as stadiums, school campus, sidewalks, and even Tiananmen Square were full of temporary shelters for victims. In the years after the disaster, many residents of Beijing, Tianjin and Tangshan lived in those shelters. The reporter of this article lived in such a shelter from 1976 to 1980, through several milestones of life such as college graduation and marriage. Ms. Qi, whom we mentioned earlier, gave birth to her second child in such a shelter.