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Story inspired and facts gleaned from Go Chengdoo.com
Original Article written by Magnus of MandMx.com
Earthquakes. They’re tragic. Disruptive. But rarely if ever happen twice to the same person. This is a story of choice. Fate. Tragedy. Coincidence? And the internet in China.
In the last 2 years China had 2 major earthquakes. One was a 8 magnitude earthquake on May 12, 2008 in Sichuan Province. The epicenter was in a small mountain town of Wenchuan 汶川 Wènchuān, Sichuan Province in Southwest China and the death toll reached 68,000; the 21st most deadly earthquake on record. The second was about 1,000 kilometers away on April 14, 2010 centered in Qinghai Province in the town of Yushu 玉树 yùshù. That one was a 7 magnitude earthquake that killed over 2,000 and counting. Remember that place: Yushu 玉树 yùshù.
Two earthquakes that for all we know had nothing to do with each other. One in Wenchuan and the other in Yushu 玉树 yùshù. And a family, that we meet in 2008 in Sichuan Province, May 11, 2008. The husband and wife set up a business repairing cell phones in a town of Beichuan 北川 běichuān. Business was ok. But on the afternoon of May 12, 2008, their shop was completely flattened by the earthquake. The local and provincial government promised to compensate them for their loss but it was slow coming. If they wanted to restart their business it would take a substantial loan. A friend of theirs suggested starting somewhere else. Perhaps a different province. Perhaps far away. A new beginning and a fresh start would put this massive loss and tragedy behind them.
The wife decided to post a question up on Baidu Zhidao which is a question and answer site in China for anyone curious about anything. She asked about government compensation and her moving plans. The post resulted in a few answers but nothing of note or interest to anyone else.
So did the couple decide to go to the big city? Too expensive. How about a close-by provincial capital like Chengdu, Sichuan? or Xining, Qinghai? No, probably enough cell phone repair places there already. The couple decided to take their friend’s advice and go to a mid size city in Qinghai province. The idea of leaving the heartache behind was nice. The idea of starting all over again was exhilarating. No suppression could keep them down. No heartache could take them out. No earthquake could shake their confidence and their desire to run a business and provide for their family.
So they decided to move to Yushu 玉树 yùshù, Qinghai province and set up shop there. The town wasn’t much different. Lots of people needed their cell phones repaired. As a matter of fact business was so good that they expanded into women’s clothes. April 13, 2010 was just a normal day. Husband and wife probably went to bed that night thinking of new products for their clothing store. Perhaps that night they woke up in a cold sweat still thinking about the shaking walls and floors that fateful day in May two years prior. The next morning at 7:45AM both were probably already at their store. The baozi were still hot from the street vendor. At 7:49AM the earthquake struck. Their business was flattened. Again.
Netizens sprang into action and searching and scouring the web for information about Yushu 玉树 yùshù and the earthquake. One innocuous post from 2009 on Baidu Zhidao came up repeatedly because it contained the word “earthquake” and where the woman and her family moved: Yushu 玉树 yùshù. Netizens quickly reposted the question where all could see the tragedy unfolding. Here was a family who had already suffered from the Sichuan earthquake, could they really be in Yushu 玉树 yùshù? What tragic coincidence! The netizens dubbed her “tragic sister” and in 24 hours there were more than 100,000 views of her post and 1,000 plus comments wishing them well and with hopes that she will post again. About a week after the earthquake she was able to read all the well wishing on the web and it moved her to tears.
Some wanted to donate money to her and some people set up a store to sell things and donate them to the family but they refused all help and just wanted to go back to Sichuan Province. Some on the web jokingly wondered where they would go next to set up a business and if their bad luck would follow them there too.
Earthquakes are tragic and disruptive. But now you know that they can happen to the same person twice. Fate moved them from Beichuan 北川 běichuān to Yushu 玉树 yùshù. Tragedy, coincidentally struck them twice. And thanks for the internet for without it we wouldn’t know the story.
Bach: Cello Suite #1 In G, BWV 1007 – Praeludium