2017-08-11 18:56:48 Haley Liu
A 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the county of Jiuzhaigou in China's southwest province Sichuan Tuesday night. At least 20 people have been confirmed dead, with another 18 seriously injured, and 413 injured. The disaster occurred around 9:20 p.m. (Beijing Time) near Jiuzhaigou, or Jiuzhai Valley, a national park known for spectacular waterfalls and karst formations.
The earthquake quickly became top topic on Chinese social media. The hashtag #7.0-magnitudeearthquakeinJiuzhaigouSichuan has been viewed 1.1 billion times and attracted 1.85 million comments and 270,000 followers. Many Internet users prayed that people in the area can rebuild their homes as soon as possible.
As a top international tourist resort, Jiuzhaigou has more than 35,000 Chinese and foreign tourists trapped after the earthquake broke out. Until now, over 50,000 tourists, among whom 126 are foreign tourists, have been evacuated and relocated to safer accommodations by tourist buses and private vehicles.
However, some foreign visitors were injured during the earthquake. A 39-year-old Canadian tourist who taught at an Australian university was hospitalized at the Jiuzhaigou branch hospital in the Zhangzha Township, as she suffered a slight head injury.
Another French citizen was wounded in both legs and needed surgery to remove stone fragments. Maxence Vallon, 18, was staying in a hotel with his mother and his brother. "We were seeking for shelters, and a stone rolled down and fell on my brother's legs", said Romain Vallon, who studied in Beijing.
The epicenter of the earthquake was about 35 kilometers away from the county of Jiuzhaigou and 290 kilometers away from the densely populated Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province.
China Earthquake Networks Center measured the quake at magnitude of 7.0 and a depth of 20 kilometers, while the U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had at magnitude of 6.5 and a depth of just 9 kilometers. The shallower the earthquake strikes, the more damage it causes. It's not unusual for magnitude and depth readings to vary because of different technologies used and the timing and distance from where quakes are measured.
Jiuzhaigou earthquake has quickly flooded China's social media since Wednesday morning. Eight out of the top 10 heated topics on Weibo Wednesday were relevant to the disaster, from finding the body of victims to touching family stories, from praising Sichuan people for their optimism to comparing the earthquake with previous ones. We have selected three most widely circulated stories about the quake that have moved hundreds of millions of people into tears.
@XJaylor: These are top 10 topics on Weibo. I hope I'll never see a list like this. Let’s pray for their safety.
1. "I decided to marry you when you protected me from stones"
A young woman confessing her love and gratitude for her boyfriend for putting her life ahead of his own went viral on Weibo Thursday morning. The sentence has even become a hashtag, which has been viewed 1.78 million times and attracted 3,400 comments. Many people congratulated them on finding true love despite the disaster.
The incident has become the most heated topic on social media.
"Sweet! She decided to marry him when he protected her from stones."
A young couple from China's eastern Zhejiang Province was on the travel bus when the quake occurred. "Everything started to tremble, and the road ahead had been destroyed by boulders. Suddenly, the window by my side was hit by stones, and my boyfriend tightly hugged me and covered me with his coat." Zeng Yajing recalled the moment with a sweet smile.
The window has been broken into pieces by boulders.
His boyfriend explained that there wasn't enough time to think, and his first reaction was protecting her from stones. The girl said they had booked plane ticket back to Zhejiang, "I'll marry him when we get back home."
Their love story has moved many Internet users. Lots of people wished them a happy life together, citing Chinese proverb "It is in disasters that you find your true love".
This is the best love story.
Please never forget you used to love her more than your life.
2. A father used his last strength to push his child out of the smashed car
A family was caught in the earthquake on a road trip to Jiuzhaigou. Their car was hit by large stones and the couple were about to die. The father used his last strength to break a car window and push his child out of the car. The child's parents and aunt died later.
This greatest love from parents broke the hearts of many, and they prayed that the child could forget the pain and live her life to the fullest.
I wish them still families in next generation.
This is too much for a child.
I wish the child cherishes his life.
The story reminded many people of a well-known song "Day Breaks"of singer Han Hong. The song tells a similar tragic story that happened in Guizhou Province 1999. A family of three was on the cable car when it started to plummet. The parents held their 2-year-old son high before the car hit ground. The baby survived, but his parents passed away. The lyrics write "I see my parents going far away and leaving me alone in the strange world. I don't know what'll come to me tomorrow. I want to hold his hands. My mom tells me there'll always be hope. When she sees the sun she smiles. Day breaks."
3. Tour guide was the only standing still when everyone else ran away
When the quake occurred, people at tourist resorts were quickly evacuated. However, Chinese netizens found one type of people stood still: tour guides. A footage showed large amounts of people running to exit as fast as they could, but a guide stood with a yellow flag held high so that his members could easily find him and calm down.
Everyone is running to exit.
A tour guide stood still with a yellow flag held high.
Weibo user @lengyuerushuangJenny said while everyone was running away, his tour guide didn't. Instead, he held his flag high and looked for other members. When he got a phone call from his colleague, he said "I'm fine, am busy looking for members. Talk later." Netizens were moved by their courage and strong sense of responsibility.
Weibo user @lengyuerushuangJenny praised his tour guide for not leaving them alone in the quake.
Tour guides have done a great job. Pray for Jiuzhaigou.
Please also take good care of yourself, because your families and friends are waiting for you to go home.
Earthquakes are common in China's west. A separate earthquake struck Xinjiang Wednesday morning, injuring 32 people. Geological experts said although the earthquakes are not related, they all occurred on the same seismic belt. The disasters were caused by crustal movement of Bayan Har block of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, pushing towards the borders of the low-lying Sichuan Basin.
China's deadliest earthquake this century, a magnitude-7.9 blow, struck Sichuan Province in May 2008, killing nearly 90,000 people.