Beijing's flexibility and openness amid a surge of individual initiative to respond in the quake crisis signals a new dynamic, the Los Angeles Times said on Saturday.
"The China that emerged from the wreckage of Monday's magnitude7.9 earthquake in Sichuan province looked surprisingly modern, flexible and if not democratic, at least open," the paper said. "It has admitted foreign rescue experts into the disaster area and tolerated reporting by a more aggressive news media."
"The leadership has appeared more responsive to the public, and the public in turn reacted with an outpouring of individual initiative to help out," the paper noted.
The paper praised Chinese leaders -- Premier Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao -- for going to the stricken areas to show support for victims.
"The trip appeared to go beyond the formulaic photo opportunity. It suggested a growing recognition by the government that public opinion matters and that the people should know what their leaders are doing, particularly in times of crisis. Instead of ordering people, the government is guiding them in a manner befitting a modern 21st century state," said the paper.
The Chinese government "is changing its ruling ideology to become more people-oriented," the paper quoted a professor at Beijing University as saying.
"The Chinese people too have been intimately a part of the tragedy that has been brought into many of their homes through 24-hour television coverage. They've cheered together when children were rescued from under the rubble; more often they have cried when the dead were carried out," said the paper.
Within 72 hours after the earthquake, Chinese individuals and companies had raised nearly 200 million dollars, and in almost every neighborhood of Beijing, volunteers were seen collecting money.
"Seeing disaster in their country, their every impulse is to head out to the scene with blankets, food, medicine and drinking water," said the paper.