Ban Visit Highlights Growing CCP Openness After China Quake

Ban Visit Highlights Growing CCP Openness After China Quake

HONG KONG -- The sight this weekend of an emotional Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon surveying the devastation wreaked by the Sichuan earthquake should allow the rest of the world to breath a collective sigh of relief.

Gone was the Beijing-manufactured nationalistic nonsense that had been gaining in fiery strength with every leg of the Olympic torch relay. Instead, the human face of China was visible, humbled by a tragedy inflicted with a brute force that only mother nature is capable of delivering.

It wasn't always like that. Initial offers of help for quake victims were snubbed by Beijing, and Chinese leaders appeared unfeeling and ignorant as the full impact of the quake was becoming known.

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