Opinion / China Daily Bureau Chiefs

Tianjin victim deals with the explosion aftermath

By Tang Yue (chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2015-09-24 10:07

Tianjin victim deals with the explosion aftermath

The windows of buildings two kilometers from the Tianjin blast site were severely damaged, raising questions about the use of safety glass. [Photo/China Daily]

When I interview Chinese people, they often tell me they read our paper often in college. But they had never expected their names to appear in the story. So when that does happen, they always feel a sense of excitement.

Cui Xianfeng has a mixed, if not utterly bitter, feeling towards it.

I met Cui for the first time outside a press conference a few days after the deadly blasts in Tianjin. The 29-year-old asked the government to buy their affected flats nearby the blasts center.

Cui was from Ningxia Hui autonomous region and decided to stay after four years of college life in Tianjin. He spent about 810,000 yuan ($ 126,846), which to him is the savings of three generations of the families, on an apartment in Vanke Haigangcheng located about 700 meters from the blasts site.

I remember him standing in the front of the crowd, crying, saying,"even if I dare go back and live there, how about my one-year-old daughter?"

Their effort gained some initial outcome a couple weeks later when the government announced the apartments could be sold to an association of State-owned property developers.

The evaluation of the market price was then released on Monday. He was satisfied with the total amount of 1.35 million yuan with all kinds of compensation included.

"Since the subsidy given by the government for temporary housing after the accident was not very satisfactory, we were not very optimistic about the evaluation. However, the result didn't let me down.

"Each affected household was given 6,000 yuan to rent an apartment for three months, which is impossible to have the same housing standard as their own apartment," said Cui.

He said he feels fortunate that his family was not injured in the accident, which claimed 173 lives.

A friend of his daughter, a one-year-old boy, had his hearing impaired by the blasts. "I'm afraid no matter how much compensation they receive, it won't heal the pain of the child and the parents," said Cui.

Cui now lives in downtown Tianjin, about 70 km from his old apartment in the Tianjin Binhai New Area. He has borrowed some money and bought a second-hand apartment in downtown.

His first name, Xianfeng, means pioneer in Chinese. The information technology professional said he never expected such disaster could happen to his family and that he would take the lead to defend his family's rights.

"I hope such disaster won't happen again in my life but I've learnt that we have to fight for our own interest. Otherwise who will do it for you?"

The author can be reached at tangyue@chinadaily.com.cn.

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