BEIJING, March 12 (Xinhua) -- From prime minister to ordinary citizens, Chinese people from all walks of life are deeply concerned about the Japanese neighbors suffering from a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that have likely killed at least 1,000 people.
Meanwhile, Chinese professional rescuers have made full preparations to set off for Japan anytime since late Friday afternoon, only several hours after the 8.8-magnitude quake struck the island nation.
Premier Wen Jiabao expressed "deep sympathy and solicitudes to the Japanese government and people" Friday. On behalf of the Chinese government, Wen sent a message to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan that China is willing to offer necessary assistance Japan.
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Defense Minister Liang Guanglie also offered condolences Friday to their Japanese counterparts, Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto and Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa.
"Chinese seismic workers know exactly what Japanese people feel right now. We are willing to offer assistance to Japan anytime," Chen Jianmin, director of the China Earthquake Administration, said Friday in a condolence message sent to Mitsuhiko Hatori, director-general of the Japan Meteorological Agency.
China's International Rescue Team has put its members, equipment, materials and medicines in place since late Friday afternoon and are ready to depart for Japan to offer humanitarian assistance anytime.
China itself had been hit by two devastating quakes in recent years -- an 8.0-magnitude quake that struck Wenchuan in southwest China on May 12 of 2008 left about 80,000 people dead or missing and a 7.1-magnitude quake that hit Yushu in northwest China on April 14 of 2010 left 2,200 people dead.
Currently, China is still being engaged in a rescue and relief operation after a 5.8-magnitude quake jolted Yingjiang County in southwestern Yunnan Province Thursday, which has left 25 people dead and more than 250 others injured.
CARE AND SYMPATHY
China's Red Cross Society decided to donate 1 million yuan (152,000 U.S. dollars) in emergency aid to its Japanese counterpart Saturday.
The Red Cross Society expressed sympathy with the quake-affected Japanese people and deep condolences to the quake victims, vowing to continue to provide humanitarian aid according to the demand in the quake zone.
Authorities in some Chinese cities have also conveyed condolences to their sister cities in Japan.
The quake-battered Miyagi Prefecture in Japan has forged friendly relations with northeast China's Jilin Province. Sendai in Miyagi and Changchun in Jilin are sister cities.
The municipal government of Changhucn has sent a letter of condolences to Sendai Friday, pledging to offer relief supplies soon.
Zhang Ye, secretary-general of the city government of Shijiazhuang in north China, told Xinhua Saturday that local authorities are closely watching the disaster situation in its Japan's sister city of Nagano.
"If Nagano needs help, we will take actions immediately," he said.
Chinese legislators and political advisors attending the annual parliamentary session in Beijing also voiced great concerns about Japan.
"I burst into tears when I saw the catastrophic scenes on TV. Japanese people are not alone while fighting against the natural disaster. Best wishes to them," legislator Wang Xiaolin said.
"The tsunami and casualties make me uneasy. When the human beings are facing natural disasters, sympathy and pooled strength should transcend everything," legislator Han Deyun said.
Political advisor Ge Jianxiong said it is the obligation of different peoples to jointly combat disasters.
"During the Wenchuan quake in 2008, China won support and assistance from the international communities, including Japan. There is an affirmative duty on China to render assistance to Japan this time," he said.
Even now, millions of Chinese people can recall a touching photo taken in the Wenchuan post-quake rescue operation in 2008, in which Japanese rescuers stood in silence beside a body they had just recovered from the debris and paid their last respects to the deceased.
"Japanese rescuers arrived in China soon after the Wenchuan quake. As neighbors, we must lend a hand to Japan now," political advisor and movie director Feng Xiaoning said.
AID AND BLESSINGS
After the massive quake hit Japan, the Beijing Language and Culture University that has more than 700 Japanese students started an emergency response mechanism immediately. School officials and teachers were dispatched to visit Japanese students one by one and learn of the damages the quake has brought to their families.
"There are about 100 students from Japan's quake zone. We will give assistance as much as possible to the Japanese students," said Li Jin, a publicity official at the university.
Authorities of foreign affairs and tourism across China are also working to provide necessary help to facilitate their trips back home.
Meanwhile, non-governmental assistance has been underway.
Chinese billionaire and philanthropist Chen Guangbiao has set out for Japan to participate in the rescue operation, and he also prepared to donate 1 million yuan in cash and emergency medicines.
"Japanese rescuers moved me very much during the Wenchuan quake. Now that they are in trouble, we must help them, too," he said.
Two Chinese students in Japan, Chen Xiaolin at the Kobe University and Xi Jinghong at the Kobe Japanese Language Institute, started a campaign Friday afternoon to raise charitable donations for quake zone.
Chinese public have also voiced their blessings to the Japanese people.
"I watch TV around the clock to learn their situation. I know their feelings very much," said 60-year-old Liu Yulian, a resident in northern Chinese city of Tangshan, where a 7.8-magnitude quake killed more than 240,000 people on July 28, 1976.
"I hope they can rebuild their homes soon," she said.
News about the quake and tsunami in Japan have topped the headlines of almost all leading Internet portals in China. Numerous Chinese are sending condolences to the dead and injured, praying for the sufferers via Twitter-like microblogs.
"When confronting natural disasters, there are no Chinese or Japanese, but only global citizens," a microblogger "Fei Ye" said.
Jin Jinping, an associate professor on laws at the Peking University, said the sympathetic responses of the Chinese public after Japan's quake revealed their care and love for humanity.
Some Chinese nationals living or studying in Japan shared their experiences via the Internet, including the help they got from the local Japanese.
Meng Qingfeng, a Chinese student at the Waseda University and an intern at the leading newspaper Asahi Shimbun, said he was extremely scared when the office building was shaking hard during the quake.
"I struggled to stand up against a bookshelf. But a senior colleague immediately pulled me down to squat under a table and told me calmly: Don't run. It's safe to stay under the table. The building won't fall," he told Xinhua via the Internet.
Indeed, Chinese Internet users have been deeply impressed by the Japanese people who are organized, orderly and well-trained in the face of the quake. Many Internet users have said Chinese people need to learn from them.
Japanese Consul General in Shanghai, Hiroyasu Izumi, told reporters Saturday that the Japanese government thanks the assistance offered by the international community after the quake, including the Chinese government and people.
"Although Japan and China have frictions, the two countries sympathize with each other when disasters hit, which are very moving," he said while attending a Japanese cultural promotion activity in eastern Chinese city of Nanjing.
"That will surely deepen the understandings and emotion links between the two peoples, and is a fortune in a misfortune," he said.