Magazines

News magazines cover the earthquake

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Southern People Weekly, 2008 #15

Black is in this week. Southern People Weekly (南方人物周刊) devotes a large chunk of its current issue to the earthquake in Wenchuan and, like the nation's newspapers, uses a mostly-monochrome front page design.

Articles in the feature include a chronology, individual anecdotes from survivors, and a discussion with experts on why the earthquake wasn't predicted.

All of this is accompanied by a huge number of photos; interestingly, Premier Wen Jiabao appears in just one image.

China Newsweek (中国新闻周刊) follows last week's mostly black cover with a cover image of the flag in Tian'anmen Square at half-mast, and the headline "National Martyrs" (国殇). Like Southern People Weekly, the magazine's title logo is black-and-white.

The subhead, and the title of an introductory essay to this issue, reads "From grief, draw the power to grow":

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China Newsweek, 2008 #19

China, please do not cry over the disaster!

Despite that day in Wenchuan when the rivers turned color and the earth collapsed.

Let it not be tears that are written into the annals of history about 5-12; rather, let it be a splendid history, the bravery and tenacity of the Chinese people in the face of a world-shaking disaster.

In chaos we see the hero's true colors!

We have seen General Secretary Hu Jintao striding across fallen walls, giving the utmost encouragement to the officers and soldiers of the emergency squads;

We have seen Premier Wen Jiabao walking swiftly to visit each and every critical disaster zone after the earthquake;

We have seen 100,000 government troops, like a flood of iron, work miracle after life-saving miracle;

We have seen ordinary people go forth to rescue, like a newly-formed "battlefield rainbow" that has shown forth bright and beautiful over ruins after the earthquake!
...
Compared to the Tangshan Earthquake of 32 years ago, today's China is very different. The growth of civic spirit, China's economic development, people's accumulation of wealth, social progress, and China's governmental transformation have moved forward together. Large numbers of NGOs, businesspeople, and individual citizens are taking part, and in response to urgent calls, they have opened up a "second front" apart from the "main battlefield" launched by the government.

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Oriental Outlook, 2008 #21

Oriental Outlook (瞭望东方周刊) went to press before the State Council's announcement of the national mourning period, so its cover (and the reporting inside) emphasizes the relief effort that was still in full swing over the weekend.

A short photo-essay in the middle of the magazine presents scenes of the relief effort after the Tangshan Earthquake in 1976. The photos of cracked roadways, shattered buildings, forlorn-looking survivors, and PLA soldiers armed with shovels could easily have been taken in Sichuan this year.

The current issue of South Wind View (南风窗) features two major stories. The first, naturally, concerns the earthquake. Premier Wen Jiabao appears prominently, but the most interesting article asks "Why did schools collapse so badly?"

Reporter Li Beifang interviews some survivors, and then tries to determine whether schools in the quake-hit areas were actually any worse off than other buildings. Li notes that in the Kobe Earthquake of 1995 in Japan, schools were the best-preserved buildings, to the point that local governments used them as temporary shelters in the earthquake's aftermath.

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South Wind View, 2008 #11

Buried in the middle of the article is this quote, which probably could be used to sum up the entire situation:

Actually, low-quality school buildings are a common phenomenon across the country. It's a question of design and workmanship, and the earthquake just violently threw this problem up in front of our faces.

The second feature concerns Wang Yuanhua, a classical scholar who passed away on 9 May at the age of 88. Wang was famed for his studies of Wenxin Diaolong, the classic of literary criticism written by Liu Xie in the 5th Century.

Most other magazines reported on Wang's death this week, but South Wind View has four complete articles, including an interview with critic Wu Hongsen that reproduces some of Wang's correspondence with Wu. (Southern People Weekly, incidentally, has an interview with Wang himself, from 2006.)

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