New life in Wenchuan a decade after the 2008 earthquake

A news report by on new life in Wenchuan, the epicenter of an 8.0-magnitude earthquake:

BEIJING, May 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Wenchuan is a county in southwest China's Sichuan province. Its picturesque scenery and distinctive features of the Tibetan and Qiang ethnic groups have made it a popular tourism destination.

But ten years ago, the county was the epicenter of an 8.0-magnitude earthquake, which damaged an area of over 100,000 square kilometers, killing close to 70,000 people and injuring more than 370,000. A decade later, however, we can hardly see traces of disaster in this place.

Xue Xiao is among the survivors of the earthquake. He was trapped under the rubble of his high school for several days following the earthquake. When asked during the rescue what he wanted to do when he got out, he replied, "I want a Coke." His words moved the mournful people across the country watching the rescue on television, and he gained the nickname "Coke boy."

As a result of his serious injuries, Xue's right arm was amputated, and in fact, he couldn't drink Coke for months after the surgery. But his optimism and strong character carried him out of the shadow of the disaster. He was later recommended to study at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, and earned an internship at Coca-Cola China. He now works for the Coca-Cola Museum in Chengdu.

That year, another survivor, Xu Guang, received as much attention as Xue Xiao. Xu was known nationwide for holding a card that said "You have worked hard" to thank the officers and soldiers who came to the rescue. Xu is now studying in a medical college and hopes to help more people in the future. Feng Wei, who was also rescued from the debris, currently serves in a special warfare brigade. Feng is just one of the rescued youths who, out of gratitude for the rescue soldiers, was inspired to join the military.

Ten years after the Wenchuan Earthquake, the area has found new life, which is reflected in each and every person across the quake-hit county.

I visited Wenchuan several years ago and interviewed a man by the name of Wang Caifeng in Shuimo Town. Wang, who has only the left arm, managed to help rescue several villagers in the worst-affected areas in the town.

Before the earthquake, Wang's home was surrounded by energy-intensive and high-pollution factories. After the disaster, the town has developed its tourism industry. In 2011, Wang seized the opportunity provided by the local economic transformation and got a bank loan to turn his house into a hotel.

The locals in Wenchuan have also been developing eco-friendly agriculture to seek a new and better life with the help of crops of sweet cherries, red plums and kiwifruits.

Unquestionably, the courage of the people has not been shattered by the past disaster. In the survivors, we see the power of moving on and never giving up.

China Mosaic
New life in Wenchuan a decade after the 2008 earthquake


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