Lives are the most valuable things on this planet. As the bodies of eight of China's UN peacekeepers who lost their lives in faraway Haiti earthquake return to their homeland, the whole nation is immersed in deep sorrow and grief. Besides heavy hearts, what fills our breasts to a great extent are strong feelings of respect for them and pride in what they had done for those they did not know.
That is why we say they are heroes at their homecoming ceremony and their state funerals in Beijing. They sacrificed their lives for the cause of world peace.
As a responsible country, China has been fulfilling its international obligations in sending out peacekeeping forces overseas in support of UN missions. More than 14,000 peacekeepers have been dispatched from China to UN operations since the beginning of this century, making it the largest peacekeeping provider among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. In foreign and sometimes dangerous lands, these officers have conquered unimaginable difficulties and often found their lives at risk. Bad fortune struck the eight Chinese peacekeepers, when the 7.3-magnitude temblor battered Haiti on January 12.
The situation in quake-ravaged Haiti is dire. It is urgently required that the international community takes on greater responsibility for relief efforts in the shaken and chaotic Caribbean country to help those in need. It has already done a lot. But there is much more to do.
China was the first country to send a rescue group to Haiti. The 68-member team helped rescue people from the debris and offered medical assistance. Another 40-member Chinese medical care and epidemic prevention team to Haiti is on its way. Meanwhile, humanitarian aid from China also arrived in Haiti, bringing emergency materials including much-needed medicine, food, tents and clothing. The aid was part of a relief package worth 30 million yuan ($4.4 million) announced by the Chinese Government. The Red Cross Society of China and the Hong Kong and Macao Red Cross also donated millions of dollars to Haiti. Private organizations and individuals are also mobilizing. What is worth noting is that those who suffered in the May 12 Wenchuan earthquake in 2008 are also making their contributions to Haiti, though they themselves are still recovering.
The Wenchuan earthquake is a pain that still hurts the Chinese people. Because of this, we now feel the heartbreak and despair of people on the other side of the globe. Lives of Chinese peacekeepers were lost. To best remember them, the international community shall finish the task they had not finished; that is, to pull people in Haiti through the catastrophe and help restore peace and stability in the country.