Friday, December 31, 2010
Taking Advantage of Victims-IV
Last year, the government amended the Law on Precautions Against Earthquake and Relief of Disaster, which would protect schools and hospitals requiring them to be able to stand at least a 8.0 earthquakes. In May, it is the first anniversary of the 5.12 earthquake in Sichuan Province. The Chinese government confirmed a total of 5,335 students killed or missing according the Xinhua News on 7 May 2009. Another 546 students were disabled, and about 3,340 schools needed to be rebuilt from the disaster. However, the crucial question is how the Chinese are going to deal with the responsibility of these “Tofu” school constructions. According to the government, near 50 percent of schools were built before 1988 when the law required such buildings to meet the earthquake code. As a result, the government will not seek criminal charges against of any construction companies or corrupt officials who might benefit from these constructions. Ironically, about 15 kilometer of the earthquake center, the three-floor Liuhan Xihuang Elementary School did not collapse; all 511 students are fine. One of the reasons is that the school was not built as a “Tofu” structure. How can the Chinese government explain to those who lost their children in these “Tofu” schools? Ironically, the Chinese local government has harassed many foreign journalists, such as Irish Times, Finnish Broadcasting Company, Agence France-Press, and Financial Times because these journalists have tried to interview the parents who lost their children. Why?? Can anyone in China provide an accountability regarding the “Tofu” schools?
After growing up and studying in China and Japan, Dr. Suganuma went to the U.S. for graduate studies, earning master’s degrees at both St. John's University (in Chinese studies) and Syracuse University (in international relations) as well as a Ph.D. (in geography) from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.