China Focus: Public, private frugality drive to support quake relief

2008-05-29 10:39:07 GMT       2008-05-29 18:39:07 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

BEIJING, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Use both sides of paper, wash vehicles with a bucket of water instead of going to the car wash, and send e-mail rather than a letter.

Such are the steps outlined under a new regulation of the Construction Department of eastern Jiangsu Province, aimed at saving money to help pay for the reconstruction of Sichuan Province's quake-devastated areas.

"Government organs should set an example in supporting quake-stricken areas with hard work and frugality," said Wang Jingping, the provincial department's office director.

Government departments, enterprises, public institutions and ordinary citizens have joined the drive to save money for Sichuan, as urged by the State Council (cabinet).

The State Council's disaster relief headquarters said on Tuesday that "social donations should continue to be encouraged and forces in various fields should be mobilized to join and support the disaster relief work."

It added: "To advocate frugality, oppose waste and make good use of each cent should be carried out across the country, including the quake-hit areas."

Central government departments' budgets would be cut by 5 percent this year to help the disaster relief work.

Domestic and foreign donations have reached 37.3 billion yuan (5.33 billion U.S. dollars). Some 10.4 billion yuan, in cash and materials, has been forwarded to the affected area.

To help with the relief effort, the Nanchang Daily newspaper in eastern Jiangxi Province cancelled its 50th anniversary celebration, donating the 200,000 yuan party budget to Sichuan's Mianyang Daily newspaper, whose facilities were severely damaged in the quake.

Ordinary Chinese, meanwhile, can contribute by using less electricity or taking shopping bags to the store instead of using plastic bags.

One university student in northeastern Jilin Province, surnamed Cui, said she took her own bag to the store to help save plastic, which could be used instead "to make tents for the homeless in the quake zone."

Tents are still badly needed to house some of the 15 million displaced, although domestic producers have been doing their utmost to boost output.

The quake, which rocked Sichuan on May 12, had left 68,516 people dead nationwide as of Thursday noon.

I have comments _COUNT_