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Chinese Army and People

3 June 2008

The following is the translation of the excerpt of a Chinese report by military journalist Zhang Dongbo (张东波) ( who joined the 110,000 rescue troops in the earthquake zone:

At dusk time on 17 May, our vehicle reached Baoxing county town. As we didn't want to touch the food on the truck that was meant to be sent to the quake victims, we got off the vehicle and found a small eatery for dinner.

The moment we walked into the room, nearly everyone there stopped eating to give us a standing ovation. And when we ordered our dishes, we were told by the restaurant owner that some customers who just left had already paid the bill for us.

During the dinner, the waiters constant brought new dishes to us for free, no matter how much we declined. Finally, the owner personally carried a large plate of fish spicily cooked with tomato to our table and said this was he made just for us.

By the time we left the restaurant, the entire staff saw us off at the door and urged us to take care of our own safety.

In the early morning of 18 May, we crossed great snow mountain 4,600 m above sea level and reached an ethnic Tibetan town. Shortly after we stood in a queue at a patrol station, a Tibetan young lady came to invite us to a nearby table where she had already prepared hot tea for us.

From there on we entered a "Life Line", a path to the quake disaster centre that the troops before us had just made it possible to go through.

By the nightfall, we arrived at a remote ethnic Qiang village where the electricity was cut off by the quake. Shortly after we sat by the rubble for a break, the villages brought the freshly cooked rice and dishes to us. We know that was almost all they had, and my tears dropped into my bowls.

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