Frequently Asked Questions About Chengdu Diary

What is Chengdu Diary?
Chengdu Diary is the blog companion to NPR's coverage of the earthquake that rocked southwestern China in May 2008. We returned to Chengdu and to Sichuan Province nearly one year after the quake, adding more entries to this diary as we reported on the area's recovery from the disaster.

What is All Things Considered?
All Things Considered is a daily newsmagazine program that has been the flagship program of NPR since it began in 1971. The show is hosted by Robert Siegel, Melissa Block and Michele Norris.

What is the purpose of the blog?
Chengdu Diary is a place for anyone curious about our work in China to communicate with our staff as they assemble material for broadcast. We welcome both questions about China, our program and this blog. If you have insight into the places we are exploring or China as a whole, this is where you let that be known.

Who can comment?
Anyone, anywhere.

Can I only comment about the China earthquake?
Please keep it close to that topic or the editorial process involved in our work in China.

Do you have rules about what can or cannot be said in the comments?
We sure do. Please see our guidelines for comments.

Who writes the blog?
You'll see comments from members of our team, which includes a host and a producer from All Things Considered, NPR's China correspondents, and translators.

How often do you post new entries to the blog?
Posting for this blog has ceased with the end of our special coverage in May 2009.

Can I suggest show topics on the blog?
We welcome suggestions, especially from people with experience in China and particularly Sichuan Province.

What if I want to e-mail the show privately?
The best way to e-mail the show is to use the "Contact Us" form. You can use it to give us general input, ask us questions that don't pertain to specific posts, and offer comments that you'd rather keep off the blog itself.

Will blog comments be read on the air?
It's possible — all public comments are fair game for air. If you'd like your comment to be kept private, send it to us via the "Contact Us" form and specify that it's not for air.

Can I link to your blog?

Will you link to my blog?
Probably not, unless it's related to something we're doing on the show.

Do I need to sign up to be eligible to post comments?
Yes, you need to register as a member of the NPR community.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

I am an avid listener of NPR and "All Things Considered" so I was delighted to hear of your trip to Chengdu. My wife, daughter and myself we also be in Chengu next month with the the intent of seeing the Wolong Panda preserve.

I look forward to reading Melissa Block's blog postings to get additional travel information and sights to see in Chengdu. As for "ma" my wife and I discovered it last October in Xi'an when we ate at a local hot pot restaurant and my wife stood up in shock after the first bite as her mouth, tounge and throat went numb. For me it was an increadible pleasure. Hope to cross paths with your crew in May.

Sent by Vince Kumagai - Denver, Co | 9:47 PM | 4-4-2008

I have listened to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED for many years, but this is my first attempt to interact with you.

I am sure we will all benefit from your analysis of ALL THINGS "CHINA".

Please inform us of the cultural and economic impact of the American Ginseng trade with China. I have followed your stories of many topics to find you are on the mark and often entertaining. I have been snookered into the speculative real estate market as a realtor and have land that has prime production possibilities for the rare "seng".

With the growing affluence of China, will the need for additional man-root production bring me relief in the down real estate market? While I await your research results I will scratch chigger bites and pick ticks from my efforts "a-woods".

Sent by David O "Doc" Carlson | 5:33 PM | 4-16-2008

I was in Chengdu about three weeks ago and had the spiciest hot pot in my life. By the end of the meal, my lips were vibrating from the heat of the chili peppers in the soup base. Please check it out if you have not already done so.

Sent by Wen Chao | 10:23 PM | 4-24-2008

As the adoptive parent of a daughter from China, I await your program with great anticipation. About 60,000 children, mostly girls, have been adopted from China since adoptions were opened in about 1991. While our daughter is from Hunan, I believe there are many adoptees from Chengdu & hope you'll do a story on the adoption of Chinese girls by Americans. Our families are blessed by these children & we long to know more about the country of their birth.

Sent by Pat | 9:58 PM | 4-25-2008

I'm an opera and ethnic music fan, and when I was in Chengdu, I fell in love with Chinese Opera performances there. The whole experience was delightful for me. But I was told that the opera may die out because there are no new young performers or audience.

In Chengdu, we had the opportunity to see the performers put on their makeup and costumes. The orchestra was small and under the direction of a woman who not only kept things together, but also sang many of parts from her backstage location.

A group of men kept our tea cups filled from a huge tank at the front of the stage.

The pageantry, and what I grasped of the symbolism, were fascinating. Some of the opera seemed to be ad-libbed, and when the male lead would come up with an especially good line, the people in the audience would laugh and repeat it to each other.

There were big bouquets of plastic flowers which the patrons could buy and have presented to the performer who they felt deserved a "bravo." These bouquets were presented by the impressario at the end of the performance.
I was told that if an opera runs long, the performers quit at the assigned time then continue where they left off the next day.

I hope to go back to Chengdu soon and spend a few weeks there going to the opera every day. (I'll be reading up on it first, because so many of the movements and even roles have symbolic meanings that I couldn't catch. And I need to get acquainted with the stories!)

Sent by Ruth Danielle | 5:27 PM | 4-27-2008

Given the terrible fate that has befallen the people of Chengdu, I take no joy at being able to use this series as a source for a paper on the state of Chinese peasants. That said, your reporters in Chengdu must be praised for bringing the story to us with the greatest humanity and real emotion. Thank you all.

- from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Sent by Jason Haas | 6:47 PM | 5-13-2008

Who would have guessed that your Chengdu Diary would put you in the heart of such an important story? Natural disasters like this are so overwhelming - but your
reporting has brought the shared human experience home, crossing cultural divides to show us that it is possible to come together to feel empathy and support in the face of loss.

Thank you for bringing the individual stories home to the NPR audience, both online and on the air.

We pray for your safety and continued emotional strength in your reporting.

- from Plymouth, MA

Sent by L. Colby | 11:13 AM | 5-19-2008

is there any way we can donate to the earth quake relief in china?

Sent by george | 8:57 PM | 5-22-2008

Dear NPR (especially Robert Siegel and Melissa Block),

Thank you for your wonderfully insightful and in-depth reporting of the earthquake disaster in Sichuan. You managed convey important information and put a very real human touch to your reporting. Moreover, you helped me get through this terrible time.

I teach classes about China and I frequently go back to see friends and conduct research. My personal and professional life is closely tied to my friendships in rural northwest China. Although the quake did not devastate the homes and lives of my immediate friends, every picture from rural Sichuan reminds me of places I have stayed and people lived with over the last 12 years. As a friend to China and a parent, I have had a rush of emotions come over me when I saw pictures of parents crying over the covered body of their only child. I too almost wept hearing the Chinese doctor tell Robert that his 26 year old daughter died in the quake. I am unable to return to China at the moment, but your touching and informative reporting and posts have helped me cope with this terrible tragedy.

Thank you again,

John Kennedy
Lawrence, Kansas

Sent by John Kennedy | 8:48 PM | 5-23-2008

About 20 years ago I visited Dazu in Sichuan to see the wonderful buddhist carvings in the cave and grotto. These are some of the few that survived the cultural revolution intact due to the remoteness of the area. Have the carvings survived the quake?

Sent by Leslie Cossitt | 11:09 PM | 5-26-2008