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Isolated Governments Handle Disasters Differently

Two Asian countries wary of international intervention are reeling from natural disasters. BBC took a striking look at the contrasting government responses to the Myanmar cyclone and the earthquake in China.

Both countries have denied foreign relief workers and journalists. But, the similarities between how Myanmar's military junta, and China's communist oligarchy are responding stop about there.

China's government is proving it intends to be swift, flexible, and open. It has scaled back Olympic torch events, and instituted a daily minute of silence. With its immediate and extensive relief effort, the government is sending the message that it is accountable for its citizens' well-being.

The Burmese government is stubbornly hesitant to accept outside assistance, despite the fact that they are desperately incapable of taking on the rescue mission. Aid is being randomly handed out, and the government is showing no signs of flexibility, going ahead with a constitutional referendum in the midst of the disaster.

China's wealth and strong infrastructure gives it an advantage to handling the rescue internally. But, do you think China's flexibility is a sign that it's becoming more open and accountable to its people? What can the outside world do to help, when a reclusive government doesn't want assistance? How much blame should a government take for the consequences of a natural disaster?


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