China Earthquake Shifts Ethnic Attitudes

The past several months have ben a time of conflict, upheaval, and natural disasters for China, but an unintended outcome may well be a decline in ethnic prejudice. Beichuan-Qiang county was in the center of the earthquake attack and it was home to theQiang ethnic group who have faced considerable discrimination over the years. However, the disaster has brought together people of diverse backgrounds as they huddle in temporary quarters and cooperate with one another in relief efforts. According to Cai Xiangrui, deputy head of a local people’s congress, “the damage in Beichuan, an ethnically diverse region, was devastating,(but) people of diferent ethnic groups” are coming together.

During relief efforts, Chinese authorities have even been considerate of the eating habits of Muslims and endeavored to get them their own foods. There is no question, the Chinese government has been more open with reporting news of the disaster and has given foreign newsmen opportunities to report fairly.