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China Says ‘No’ to Japan's Earthquake Aid Offer

The Chinese government has turned down Japan’s offer to help with relief efforts following an earthquake in China's southwest Sichuan province that left at least 193 people dead and more than 12,000 injured [zh].

The quake, measured at magnitude of 7.0 by the China Earthquake Administration, stuck on the morning of April 20, 2013 in the mountainous areas near Ya’an, a city of 1.5 million people known for its population of pandas and tea industry.

Shortly after the quake, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered condolences and assistance to Chinese leaders, saying that Japan was “ready to offer its maximum support”.

In response, the Chinese Foreign Ministry in its daily news briefing on April 21 said the government was grateful for the gesture, but overseas aid at the moment was not necessary, citing congested roads and the competency of Chinese authorities to cope with the relief work:

Image by Flickr user @Shiqi Shen(CC BY-SA 2.0).

Ya'an earthquake kills 193 people. Image by Flickr user @Shiqi Shen(CC BY-SA 2.0).

 4月20日,中国四川芦山发生地震后,国际社会迅速向中国政府和人民表示慰问和支持,一些国家提出愿意提供各种形式的援助。中国政府和人民对此表示衷心感谢。中国政府正全力开展救灾工作。目前中方搜救和医疗力量有保障,救灾物资充足,同时考虑到灾区交通和通讯条件不便,暂不需要外国救援队、医疗队和救灾物资。如有需要,我们将适时向有关国家提出。中国红十字会总会已发布了接受国际资金援助的联络方式。

After the April 20 Lushan earthquake in Sichuan, the international community has swiftly offered condolences and support, some countries have shown willingness to offer assistance of all kinds, to which the Chinese government and its people are grateful. Chinese government are carrying out all-out disaster-relief work. At the moment, we have sufficient relief and medical workforce, as well as sufficient relief supplies, given the inconvenience of telecommunication and traffic in the quake-hit zones, for now don’t need foreign rescue teams, medical teams, and relief supplies. If we are in need of them, we will make the demand to relevant countries where necessary. The China Red Cross has released the contact for the acceptance of overseas financial aid.

But at the same time, Chinese state media reported the imminent arrival of nearly 200 Russian rescue workers [zh].

Japan's offer to help comes at a shaky time for relations between China and Japan as the two countries continue to spar over islands in the East China sea.

The ministry's rebuff of Japan's help sparked lively debates on Chinese social media, with some netizens shelving the recent territorial dispute and historic bitterness between the two countries.

“Kuaile Songxiang” from Beijing wrote[zh] that China should learn from Japan about disaster prevention, commenting on popular Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo:

不但应该接受日本援助,还应引入日本先进的防灾减灾培川,当然最根本的是学习日本那让人眼红的防震建筑和先进的报警系统.

Not only should we accept Japan's assistance, we also need to introduce the advanced disaster prevention and reduction from Japan, of course, fundamentally

Echoing the same sentiment, Weibo user “name no longer meaningful” lamented [zh]:

 狭隘的民族主意,打肿脸充胖子,接受日本援助很丢脸吗?

Narrow nationalism, it's just biting off more than we can chew, is it really humiliating to accept Japanese assistance?

“Yanger Dini” from the northwestern city of Xi'an, however, came to the government's defense by offering his analysis [zh]:

有很多政治因素在里面,中国很多重工和核设施在四川附近,这个时候闭关自守也是出于国防的考虑.

There are many political elements involved, many heavy industries and nuclear facilities are near Sichuan, choosing to shut ourselves off is for the reason of national defense.

“Pushan Pushan De Yanjing” from the provincial capital Nanchang of eastern Jiangxi province wrote sarcastically [zh]:

日本是中国凝聚民心彰扬民族主义的反面宣传的对象,若让其来中国做好事,会直接提升其在中国百姓心中的正面形象,对以后的反面宣传不利,所以。。。

Japan is the the subject of negative propaganda used to rally nationalism, if we let them do good deeds in China, it will elevate their positive image among ordinary Chinese people, which will be bad for the negative propaganda, so…

“Yihao Caomin” seemed dismayed [zh] at the comparison between the two nations,hinting about China's Red Cross scandal and media reports about leaders eating instant noodles as nothing more than image boosting.

日本每年有感地震1000多次,全球10%的地震均在日本。可是日本地震却很少大规模死人。为啥?1.房屋抗震,绝无豆腐渣。2.救援及时专业,不会派没经验的军队上,更不会拒绝外国援助。3.领导吃泡面小米粥不会拍照宣传。4.人家的红十字会不养郭美美。5.人家能上推特,且不删帖。6.……欢迎补充

Japan experiences sensible earthquakes more than 1,000 times, 10 percent of all the earthquake in the world occur in Japan. But earthquakes in Japan rarely cause large casualties. Why? 1. Houses that can sustain quakes, not shoddy construction projects. 2. Professional and timely relief work, no inexperienced army sent to do the work, no declining foreign aid. 3. No photos of leaders eating instant noodles and millet porridge to boost their image. 4. Red Cross (in Japan) does not have Guo Meimei. 5. People can access Twitter without posts being deleted. 6….any addition is welcome

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