Return to Sichuan

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Here’s a report from the current issue of the magazine that Lin Yang and I put together after a trip to Sichuan in October. We examine how a handful of survivors of the May 12 earthquake are now faring. A gallery of Ian Teh’s photos is forthcoming, and I’ll add a link when it’s posted.

On Friday Sichuan authorities finally revealed the number of students who died in the earthquake–19,065, nearly one out of every four killed. Up until now the total was believed to be about 10,000. The issue remains highly sensitive, which likely explains why it took so long for this figure to come out. Nine days after the earthquake the human rights activist Feng Congde released an estimate of student deaths based on media reports. He came up with 16,365. That’s the midpoint between his low estimate of 13,564 and a high point of 19,012. His high figure is, amazingly, just 0.3% off from the official number released this week.