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Quake relief helps civil society grow in China
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"I saw a lot of disasters when I was a soldier, but what surprised me this time is that such a lot of people, no matter who they are and where they come from, are doing so much to help," says Wang, 26.

"I once thought the Chinese were indifferent, especially in the money-oriented market economy," says Wang, a computer engineer in Beijing before he resigned to work in the quake zone.

On the road from Dujiangyan to Yingxiu, the epicenter, a man in his 60s cooks for displaced survivors everyday. He's uninterested in speaking to the media: "I came here to cook, not to become famous."

In south China's Guangzhou City, people whose houses have been relocated for land development are queuing to complain about their unfair treatment to the city's land resources bureau, but first they put money in a donation box in the office. Land relocation is one of the most intractable issues in China, which often leads to mass protests.

"We are miserable, but the quake victims are much more miserable than us," says an appellant named Wen.

After 30 years of economic reform, the Chinese have been absorbed in making money. In a rapidly developing and competitive society, care for others is viewed as a waste of time by some as relatives, neighbors and colleagues grow further apart. Many feel that society is indifferent.

However, the quake has become the major public issue. Newspapers, radio and TV are all reporting the situation in the quake zone.

"The quake helped us understand humanity and universal kindness are the most important factors for social harmony," says Professor Chen Changwen, dean of sociology and psychology at Sichuan University. "It helped us rebuild communal confidence and a social morality."

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