China Earthquake Relief Committee formed to help victims

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KINGSTON, R.I. –-May 20, 2008—The Confucius Institute and Chinese Students and Scholars Association at the University of Rhode Island have partnered with the China Earthquake Relief Committee of Rhode Island in a statewide effort to aid earthquake victims in Sichuan, China.

“Many Rhode Islanders are watching this devastating tragedy unfold on television and would like to know how to help the earthquake victims,” says Louis Yip, a community leader of Chinese Americans in Rhode Island and chair of the relief fund.

In an agreement with Sovereign Bank, all 31 branches in Rhode Island will accept donations. Checks should be payable to China Earthquake Relief Fund. In addition, donation jars have been placed at the Asia Grille Restaurant in Lincoln; the American Chinese Mini Market, the Hong Kong Buffet and the Royal Buffet, all located in Cranston.

People can also mail checks to the China Earthquake Relief Fund, 48 Blackstone Ave., Pawtucket, R.I. 02860. All funds collected will be sent to the Chinese Red Cross.

Honorary chairs of the relief committee are Gov. Donald L. Carcieri Rhode Island, Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Congressman James Langevin, Attorney General Patrick Lynch, Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis, RI Democratic Party Chair William Lynch, URI President Robert L. Carothers, Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts; Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse; and Bernard LaFayette, distinguished scholar-in-residence and director of URI’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies. The complete list of committee members is available online.

The magnitude 7.9 earthquake, the worst to hit China in 30 years, struck the southwestern province of Sichuan Monday, May 12. According to the Chinese state news agency Xinhua, the death toll is expected to exceed 50,000. The confirmed death toll in the Sichuan province as of May 18 was 32,476.

More than 80 students from China are studying at URI, according to Yaning Chen, a doctoral student who is president of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association. In addition, there are more than 50 Chinese faculty members and professionals at the University. Fortunately, no families of the students, faculty, or staff have been personally affected by the earthquake.

“URI has the largest number of Chinese students and faculty than any other higher education institute in the state,” says Yan Ma, URI professor of library and information studies who directs the University’s Confucius Institute. Ma is vice chair of the relief committee. ““Many students, staff, and faculty have already reached out and have generously contributed to the relief fund recognizing the urgency for help and to show their concern. We are happy to join the statewide effort to get more help to victims.”

For more information, visit the China Earthquake Relief Committee of Rhode Island’s website: