China's leaders have reacted to the worst earthquake for more than 30 years with exemplary speed and concern, mobilizing a massive national effort to rescue survivors and prevent the outbreak of disease, The Times daily said in a commentary Wednesday.
It said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao flew immediately to the disaster area, voiced national grief and sympathy, visited survivors and repeated his call for even faster efforts to reach those trapped under buildings or buried in the rubble.
"More than 50,000 troops have been mobilized to aid the emergency teams and distribute food. Helicopters have been put on standby to drop medicines and provisions. Nearby airports have been closed to civilian traffic to aid the emergency effort."
"Priority has been given to restoring electricity and clearing roads. An appeal has gone out for blood and television provides frequent bulletins," it said.
Beijing has voiced thanks for the world's sympathy, accepted aid offers and even appealed for help to neighboring Japan, and President Hu Jintao has accepted a call from U.S. President George W. Bush to discuss the earthquake, it said.
Suggestions that foreign relief workers may not be needed appear to be based not on defensive secrecy but on the realistic assessment that China now has the manpower and experience to cope, it said.
(Xinhua News Agency May 14, 2008)