China | Natural Disasters Ravage China
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- War Losses Cause China to Sign Away Sovereignty
- People's Republic of China Is Established
- China Is Condemned for Poor Treatment of Tibetans
- President Nixon's Visit to China Establishes New Relations
- Student Demonstrators Are Killed at Tiananmen Square
- China Becomes an Economic Power, but Continues to Suppress Personal Liberties
- Natural Disasters Ravage China
- China Hosts a Successful Olympics
- Space Exploration, Government Reforms, and Military Crackdowns
- Tension Reignites with Asian Neighbors Over Islands
- Transfer of Power, Bo Xilai Sentenced to Life in Prison
- New Air Defense Zone Declared and Increased Tension with Vietnam
- Chinese Hackers Indicted by the United States
- China Signs Gas Accord with Russia, Faces Hong Kong Protests, Participates in South Sudan Mission
- China and U.S. Reach Landmark Agreement on Climate Change
- China, South Korea, and Japan Hold First Foreign Minister Talks in Three Years
- China Ends One-Child Policy, Meets with Taiwan for First Time in Sixty-Six years
Natural Disasters Ravage China
In January 2008, severe snowstorms in eastern and southern China killed at least 24 people. Half of the country's 31 provinces lost power, about 827,000 people were evacuated from their homes, at least 600,000 train passengers were stranded, and some 20 major airports were closed. The economic cost of the storm is projected to be $3.2 billion.
In March, some 400 Buddhist monks participated in a protest march in Lhasa to commemorate the failed uprising of 1959, that resulted in the Dalai Lama fleeing to India. The protests, the largest in two decades, turned violent, with ethnic Tibetans reportedly attacking Chinese citizens and vandalizing public and private property. Chinese police used force to suppress the demonstrations. Tibetan leaders said that more than 100 Tibetans were killed, but Chinese officials claimed only 16 fatalities occurred and denied that police had used lethal force. China barred many international news organizations from the country and limited the flow of information out of the country. The demonstrations and violence spilled into Gansu, Qinghai, and Sichuan Provinces in western China. Chinese officials accused the Dalai Lama of masterminding the protests, a charge the spiritual leader denied. Zhang Qingli, Tibet's Communist Party leader, reportedly called the Dalai Lama “a jackal in Buddhist monk’s robes, an evil spirit with a human face and the heart of a beast."
President Hu visited Japan in May and cited an "everlasting warm spring" in relations between the countries. It was the first visit by a Chinese head of state in a decade. While Hu and Japan's prime minister Yasuo Fukuda failed to make progress on resolving a dispute involving a gasfield in the East China Sea, they did agree to regular meetings, signaling a thaw in their cool relationship.
At least 68,000 people were killed and thousands injured when a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Sichuan, Gansu, and Yunnan Provinces in western China on May 12. Nearly 900 students were killed when Juyuan Middle School in the Sichuan Province collapsed. Several other schools also collapsed, killing about 10,000 students. In addition, a well-known panda reserve in Wenchuan was destroyed. The disaster was further complicated by landslides in Sichuan Province that blocked rivers and formed quake lakes that officials feared may cause devastating floods. It was China's worst natural disaster in three decades. In September, the Chinese government acknowledged that poor construction of hastily built schools possibly contributed to their collapse in the earthquake.