On behalf of the First Presidency, Elder Russell M. Nelson Feb. 21 presented to the Chinese ambassador to the United States a check for $25,000 to help in reconstruction efforts after a major earthquake last November caused extensive damage in China.
Meeting with Han Xu, ambassador from the People's Republic of China, at the Chinese Embassy here, Elder Nelson of the Council of the Twelve also delivered a letter from the First Presidency."Our sympathies," the First Presidency's letter stated, "reach out to the many individuals and families suffering because of the earthquake in Yunnan Province. We wish to help lighten the burden of those stricken by this tragedy.
"The enclosed donation of $25,000 comes from Church members around the world. We request your help in seeing that this donation provides direct relief to earthquake victims in the stricken area. In addition, there may be other ways we might assist as critical needs become known. We therefore invite you to share with us information that would be useful in considering such possibilities.
"Please extend our condolences to your leaders and people in this time of need."
The Nov. 6, 1988, earthquake that struck the Lancang area in Simao Prefecture in Yunnan Province measured 7.6 on the Richter scale. Between 900 and 1,000 people were killed and nearly 2,000 were injured. The prefectures of Simao, Lincang, Xishuagbanna, Baoshan, and Dehong suffered varying degrees of damage. Communications and transportation in some areas were completely severed. Most of the buildings in the area are of wood and bamboo and in some places up to 80 percent of them collapsed.
According to Beverly Campbell, the Church's Washington, D.C., public communications director who also attended the presentation, the ambassador was very warm toward the Church for making the donation.
She said the ambassador considered the gift as being from all the members of the Church, and that it was received on behalf of all the people of China, not just the earthquake victims. He said, according to Sister Campbell, that he had visited the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii, and had participated on a committee that recommended sending the first Chinese students to BYU-Hawaii Campus.
The ambassador was then presented with a miniature of a sculpture by Florence Hansen of a father and son, titled "Building Bridges."
"He was very touched by the presentation, and said the title was very appropriate," said Sister Campbell. "His warmness was very, very real."