记者:Thane Burnett，Toronto Sun
我们现在绵阳人民医院的妇产科， 19号病床上躺着的是王定春(Din Chun Wang)和她的新生宝宝，父亲崔梁(Liang Chei)是当地的一个商人，正在忙着给孩子换尿片。
一位年轻的医生Chan Jia Li对着产科病房的人说， “我们在这里看到了希望，这里的人们都很坚强。”
Hope in every tiny face
In quake’s wake, focus is on young
Thu, June 19, 2008
By THANE BURNETT
MIANYANG, China — After losing so many children, the addition of every new one becomes an affair of state.
We are in the maternity ward of Mianyang People’s Gynecology Hospital. In bed 19, Din Chun Wang rests beside her infant as father Liang Chei — a local businessman — moves in happily to change a wet diaper.
At the door, other patients peer into the room. The new mom shyly covers herself in the industrial green bedsheets. Happy whispers can be heard in the hall.
The 21-year-old mother feared for her life, and that of her unborn child, when their Sichuan city felt the Earth move on May 12.
But her parents comforted her, saying she was healthy enough not to let fear disrupt her pregnancy.
The quake wasn’t particular in who it killed. Thousands of children were lost as quickly as thousands of adults.
Outside the hospital, the death of almost 70,000 people is so fresh the government sprays cars and people with chemicals in the hopes of controlling infectious diseases which some fear could follow. But a different atmosphere has settled around bed 19 and is filtering throughout the hospital.
“We still see hope here,” a young doctor, Chan Jia Li, says of the maternity ward. “The people are strong.”
A great truth in most disasters is that children become the faces of loss and rebirth. Here in China — with its one-child policy for most families — this is especially true.
A Dujiangyan high school teacher is now public enemy No. 1, and has been fired, after he ran out of his school before any of his students during the earthquake.
There are now more people willing to adopt quake or -phans than there are orphans.
The disaster affected about 3 million children. The UN Children’s Fund estimates nearly 7,000 schools were completely destroyed.
Questions about the possible shoddy construction of many of those buildings has become a growing controversy. While officials seemed to be ready to face questions and public criticism early on, they are no longer in the mood to debate past choices.
A retired school teacher, Zeng Hongling, who used the Internet to criticize the government, has apparently been detained by police in Chengdu. Foreign reporters — including myself — cannot get close to the worst of the school collapses. At least one journalist who did get close was reportedly questioned at length by police.
Yesterday a nervous and well-connected businessman asked that we stay in his car rather than be caught taking photos in an area which overlooked a flattened school.
Yet it was the children who rescuers worked to keep alive first. Indeed, some trapped adults were told they would have to wait until every child was pulled out.
And it’s the surviving children who have been given priority treatment by officials, who’ve brought in counsellors and created an entirely new school system in tent cities.
After the quake, more than half a million children under the age of 12 and in the worst affected communities were vaccinated against hepatitis A and encephalitis B.
In many ways, the children are the face of all that’s good and bad during this crisis.
In recent days, I’ve watched as 11-year-old Xie Yao played patty-cake on the grounds of a tent camp in an area known as the Dragon Gate’s Mountain. None of the children seemed to even notice several tremors shifting the pebbles around them.
I’ve seen a child who, for a month, went mute from shock — and then suddenly called to her mom.
And I’ve watched children in tent classrooms raise their hands when asked how many lost a parent in the quake. They included 14-year-old Su Yi, who barely survived the collapse of his school. His mother died where she stood.
Yesterday, Su Yi was back in class, this time at the tent school built outside the Mianyang sports stadium which originally housed survivors.
From the front of his class, you can just make out the biohazard team’s tent.
His mother, the teenager says, was strict when it came to his lessons.
“Study hard,” she would demand.
He says even though she’s gone, he can still hear her voice urging him on in life.
Across the city, new mother Wang decides her new son will become a face — and name — of both the tragedy and the hope here.
A day after giving birth to the healthy boy, she and her husband finally agree on just the right name. It will be the last, strong word on what’s happened, they reason.
They announce it, and the whispers along the hospital halls become a chattering chorus as the news makes the rounds.
The child will be officially registered with the local government as Zhen Yang, which means “Earthquake Sunshine.”