Chinese-Style Post-Disaster Reconstruction

  Chinese-Style Post-Disaster Reconstruction Presented by Changes of Chengdu
  In the south-west of China, 70 kilometers north from Chengdu urban area, there is a town named Bailu. During these days, it is full of festive atmosphere. This town, characterized with French-style, will be open on May 12. You will never know that this town suffered 8.0 earthquake three years ago and became a ruin if you were not there before.
  I went there not long after the earthquake. The scene was so horrible that I don't want to recall it until now. However, after only three years, a brand-new, traditional but also mixing French-style and exquisite town is presented to me. The speed of reconstruction and the high level of the result are really surprising. For more surprising, the great change of Bailu is not the only case but the universal one in Chengdu. I am really curious about the reasons of the Chengdu miracle and the experience of Chinese-style reconstruction.

Plan First, Developmental Style Reconstruction

  There are two 800-mile-long streets in the core district of Bailu town. In the south of it, there are full of French-style buildings, with the shape of ancient castle, high, pointed roof and arched windows; in the north, the buildings are in Chinese traditional style. "This is what we talk as the Chinese-French style," the local official Gao Tiancheng introduces, "Bailu town presents the reconstruction idea of China governments at all level. It makes full use of the town's both historical and natural resources. It considers not only the current requisition but also the sustainable development.
  Bailu town, with more than one thousand years history, enjoys agreeable climate and sound ecological environment. "Apart from the excellent natural conditions, the town possesses more than one hundred years of French culture origins," Gao Tiancheng observes. One hundred years ago, a French missionary came here and presided over the construction of three Catholic Colleges. One of them was still preserved well before the earthquake and became the landmark of the town and national cultural relic. Many couples getting married always choose it as the background of their wedding photos.
  The 8.0 earthquake occurred on May 12, 2008. This town, only 40 kilometers away from the epicenter, was ruined with lots of people injured and great loss of property.
  Reconstruction is the initial target after the tension relief. Governments at all levels decided to adopt the ideas and methods of the developmental reconstruction, rather than a simple recovery-type reconstruction.
  "Considering the natural conditions and the historical culture, we decided to reconstruct Bailu town as a high level tour town with Chinese-French style," says Gao Tiancheng. After the reconstruction, people in Bailu town are no longer only doing the mining, but mainly engage in tourism, wedding industry and diversified agriculture. They live a better life now.
  Over two years' reconstruction, the extent of Bailu's modernism, the level of its infrastructure and the living standard are totally different from the past. Gao says, "The Bailu that stands up from the ruin is like jumping at least over twenty years."
  There are 16 post-disaster towns more with featured squares, stylish streets and tasty decoration like Bailu. They all adopted "developmental reconstruction" idea. It is not a copy of the past, but makes great progresses in the characteristics, the industry structure and the living standard.

  Co-ordinate Urban and Rural, Use Urban Standard to Build Rural Areas

  It takes one hundred million dollars to reconstruct Bailu but where is the money from?
  "Our country gives us great support and the representation of it is the one to one assistant construction," says Gao Tiancheng.
  According to the national arrangement, the developed Fujian Province is the support for Pengzhou, Chengdu, which Bailu belongs to. The total amount of the support money reaches 500 hundred million dollars. Bailu broadcast station, schools, the administrative center and part of those permanent housing are all the result of the one to one assistant construction project. This kind of project is an innovation. It is reported that the Japanese government has sent specialists to China to learn about it.
  The Chinese government makes subsidies to every family for the rebuilding of the permanent housing. Governments at all level collect all kinds of donation to make allowance for every affected household so that they can afford the fees for rebuilding the houses.
  "Without the power of our country and the aid from the society, it would take us a long time to rebuild Bailu as the current one by ourselves," Gao Tiancheng says.

Respect Public Opinion, Happy People

  The smell of bread and coffee floats out from time to time in Bailu. Many of those residents that once engaged in mining and agriculture now turn into the bosses of bars, coffee shops, bakeries, wedding photography gallery and etc. The lifestyle of the town changes a lot.
  The fifty-five resident, He Shengcai, opened the first supermarket in the town after the earthquake. Currently, he and his family invest more than one million Yuan to build a hotel. He Shengcai even learns some simple English for better service for foreigners. He smiles and says, "Everyone in our town can speak at least ten English sentences."
  Yang Qingping, forty-four years old, once worked as miner, pork hawker, driver and some other professionals. Now he is engaged in tourism and owns a country hotel. This middle-aged man laughs a lot during our talks. Behind his name card, there is a poem that commends the new presentation of Bailu.
  Most people that live in Bailu and other post-disaster districts are now living a happy life like He Shengcai and Yang Qingping. During the past two years, while Chinese governments at all level doing the material reconstruction, they also pay much attention to the spiritual aspect. They rebuild the residents' confidence and cultivate the sense of civilization, self-reliance and thanksgiving through counseling, seminars and cultural and sports activities.
  The reconstruction of Chengdu after the earthquake promotes not only the material living standard but also people's cultural literacy.

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