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Open Letter of Appreciation to the Government and People of Canada Following the Wenchuan Earthquake on May 12, 2008

On May 12 this year, an 8.0-magnitude earthquake hit Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province in Southwest China, causing massive devastation in an area of about 100, 000 sq km and affecting a population of over 40 million with a death toll up to 70,000.

Following this deadly disaster, Canada was among the first country to express its sympathies towards the Chinese and indicate its readiness to help. We have received letters of condolence from the Governor General, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of Canada. The federal government of Canada has donated $1 million, so has the provincial government of Ontario, with another $2 million from the British Columbia. Over $15 million has been donated to the disaster-hit area in China by individual Canadians through the Canadian Red Cross and other charity organizations, a figure still rising and a generosity the federal government of Canada has pledged to match. Up to 1,700 tents donated by Canada are already in use in the quake-stricken area, providing shelter for the people living the natural disaster.

Specific authorities in China have been designated for the management and distribution of all international donations in strict accordance with the law. The Chinese government has also pledged that all donations will be used for rescue and relief efforts and the post-disaster reconstruction and that the delivery will be open and transparent.

At present, with the initial stage of rescue and relief coming to a conclusion, the Chinese government is focusing on planning reconstruction, building homes for millions of the dispossessed and healing the wounds of so many that have lost their most beloved. It will be an even tougher and longer battle, but we are optimistic that with resolve and solidarity of the Chinese and continued support of the international community, we will finally prevail.

On behalf of the Chinese Government and all those affected by the earthquake, we wish to express our most sincere gratitude to the government and people of Canada. The natural disaster may be ruthless, but human compassion is overwhelming. Your support and assistance offered in times of need is another demonstration of the strong bond of friendship between the people of our two countries, which we will remember and highly appreciate.

Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Canada

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