Lincoln Tan

Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Chinese businessman gives $100K to earthquake appeal

A Taiwanese nurse who was studying English in the Canterbury Television building when it collapsed remained missing. Photo / Sarah Ivey
A Taiwanese nurse who was studying English in the Canterbury Television building when it collapsed remained missing. Photo / Sarah Ivey

A Chinese businessman has donated $100,000 to the Christchurch earthquake appeal after reading about the numerous Chinese people killed or missing in the central city.

Yaxun Zhang, a member of the Henan Chamber of Commerce, offered the donation after reading an online report headlined "Chinese grieve for those lost amid rubble"

Mr Zhang made his grant in a phone call on Saturday to NZ's only China-born MP, Raymond Huo.

Mr Huo said the story "showed the international nature of this sad tragedy and Mr Zhang said it woke him up to the reality of how hard it had hit the Chinese community here".

"He has family members living in Auckland," the MP said, "and told me he will immediately make the cheque available ..."

Mr Huo said he had now received the cheque and Mr Zhang's instructions were to donate it through the NZ Song Qingling Foundation.

Police have said up to 100 of the 220 thought to have died in the earthquake are from overseas, including up to 24 Chinese.

Mr Huo, who speaks Mandarin, said he would travel to Christchurch tomorrow to meet the families of the Chinese victims.

The families have been told that although autopsies are expected to be completed by the end of the week, it could take months before the bodies of their loved ones are formally identified and released to them.

"It could be a considerable length of time from when the last post-mortem finishes and the last formal identification is made," Superintendent Sam Hoyle said yesterday.

Performers coming from Taiwan for the Auckland Arts Festival will also be donating their first night's takings to Christchurch, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office director Carl Yang said yesterday.

Taipei's U Theatre will be here for the first time to perform Sound of the Ocean, a music and theatre performance combining Western theatre techniques with Zen Buddhist philosophy.

"The performers feel it is only right that they play their part to help those who are suffering from the quake," he said. "The earthquake hit Christchurch, but it also hit the rest of us from around the world especially those with people who have not been found."

Mr Yang said a Taiwanese nurse who was studying English in the Canterbury Television building when it collapsed remained missing.

Meanwhile, social service organisations and ethnic communities will meet this morning at the Auckland Regional Migrant Services (Arms) office in Three Kings to discuss "collaborative ways" to provide support for people fleeing damaged homes and aftershocks in Christchurch.

Nearly 70,000 have left the city, and more than 20,000 are expected in Auckland.

Arms executive director Mary Dawson said those at the meeting "will share what support is available, tell what their ... organisation can do to help and hear what others can do".

- NZ Herald

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