Chinese Church Voices

“The Most Beautiful Volunteer” Liao Zhi Talks about the Two Earthquakes She has Experienced

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The article below, translated from the mainland site Gospel Times, is about a young dancer named “Liao Zhi” who lost both of her legs in the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. She has since been fitted with artificial legs and has returned to dancing. After the earthquake in Ya'an last month, she went to the area as a volunteer.

When the Wenchuan earthquake struck five years ago, she lost her legs, her mother-in-law, her ten-month old daughter, as well as her marriage. Five years later, when an earthquake hit Lushan County in the same province, she wore prosthetic legs and went to the stricken area immediately. Her name is Liao Zhi, and she is known as the most beautiful volunteer. She said, It is joy, not suffering that that allows people to go on.

Liao related what happened to her during the first earthquake, on May 12, 2008. When it struck, her grandma bent over to protect the baby in her arms, and Liao laid on top of them. The earthquake eventually caused the house to collapse, burying them. Gradually her daughter stopped crying, and her mother-in-law died also. Liao said at that moment she lost her will to live. When her father talked to her from outside, she responded weakly at first, but later, she gave up and stopped responding no matter how many people called out to her. Later on, spurred on by the cries of the people, which reminded her of her parents, she regained her will to live. She was the only child of her parents and she didn't want them to suffer the same pain she had just experienced.

After she was rescued and taken to the hospital, she was told her legs needed to be amputated. At that time, her father was at home taking care of his mother-in-law as well as his daughter, and her mother was out of the province Her husband was also away, so the only relative she had nearby was a young cousin. The little boy was so distressed by the thought of Liaos amputation that he kneeled down and grabbed the operating shelter vehicle, begging the doctors not to go. Finally, it was Liao herself who signed the permission form for surgery.

She said when she was little she watched a TV series named Yi Lian You Meng which was written by Qiongyao (a famous Taiwanese writer). The heroine of the show was a dancer who lost her legs in an accident. Liao thought if it ever happened to her, she would kill herself at once. But when she did experience this in her real life, she found that it was not as simple as she thought and that ending her life was not the way to solve the problem.

"At least my daughter was a reason for me to survive since I was convinced that she can could what I was doing, and I thought if I give up, she would laugh at me and feel disappointed in her mom," Liao said.

When she talks about the marriage she lost after the earthquake, Liao shared that the pain brought about by the stress in her marriage was worse then the earthquake itself. She blamed her husband for his absence when the earthquake struck. But every time when she blamed him, it hurt her husband even more; he just kept silent and cried. Now she is grateful to him since it was his absence that made her strong. If he had been there, she couldnt be the person she is now.

Five years later, when the earthquake hit Yaan, she was in Chongqing. Wearing her prostheses, she went to the stricken area at once. She said, Since I had the experience of being rescued, as well as being small, I know how to dig holes and so knew I could help a lot.

"The reason I said this is because when I was trapped in the debris, the rescue workers couldn't get in; finally it was a little boy who got in and saved me. This is the reason that I can face the debris again, something that others have refused to do. I believe that my second chance at life was given by another. As a result, I believe that people should help selflessly," she added.

It was also this time that she released on her micro-blog a photo of her sitting on top of some rubble. The picture was re-posted 10,000 times as soon as it was released. Many people commented the she looks a lot like Cecilia Cheung (a famous star from Hong Kong, China), so she was given a name of the most beautiful volunteer. At the beginning, she thought all those comments were meaningless since didnt have anything to do with the disaster-relief, but after a few days with the situation getting better, she felt relieved and thought about their comments and felt happy, do I really look like Cecilia Cheung?

As she looked back again, she said she is grateful for all that happened in her life and will enjoy every moment of her life. Most of all, she wants to thank God, since He is the one who gave her a second chance to share her experiences sincerely and openly.

Original Article: 最美志愿者廖智谈生命中的两次地震

More articles about Liao Zhi:Video: Liao Zhi, Survivor (CCTV English report)

Chinese dancer, earthquake survivor thankful for faith and legs (Lubbock Avalance-Journal)