All day, I've been thinking about the numbers of the Sichuan earthquake. Of the estimated 80,000 casualties,13,500 were children from low income families, dead in the rubble of their collapsed public schools. That's a whopping 16%. The parents are beginning to stage protests, demanding answers, but Communist cadres are attempting to quash their voices. The parents are told by officials to simmer down, and that they have no right to complain because the death of their children was tian ming--ordained by heaven. Media coverage on the collapsed schools have been scanty, no doubt because of press clampdown. The building in which the children of the well connected attended school withstood the temblor with little or no damage.
After the grief, there will be anger. The Communists Party will not be able to quell the crazed outrage of thousands of parens who will risk their lives, who will be willing to die in prison, in their demand for justice. I would be blind with rage if my child died in a government building constructed from shoddy materials, where corrupt officials siphoned off money into their own pockets.
Below is the illustration I did to accompany my review of Ma Jian's masterpiece, "Beijing Coma," in the current issue of the Washington Post Book World. Ma Jian asks China to emerge from its collective coma, to review its past before attempting to hurtle into the future. I had to finish this illustration quickly--in 1.5 hours--because the paper was going to press. Drawing with brush, lamp black gouache and pigment markers on Bristol board. I found the process of working with a newspaper editors exhilarating. Their suggestions were strong and the final edits, unlike in book publishing, were entirely theirs.
Causes Belle Yang Supports
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