CHINA: Chiu Ming!

Along China's turgid riverbanks gongs were ringing. Their summons brought villagers running through the wet darkness, crying: "Chiu ming! Chiu ming!" (Save life! Save life!). Pale lightning flickered and thunderclaps split the sky as men, women & children labored with spade, hoe and hands to pile even higher the earthen ramparts of the river dikes. Downriver, other watchmen, gongs in hand, their silhouettes reflected by torchlight, anxiously measured the rising flood crest. Then they, too, beat their booming summons in the night.

Two months of steady rains sent, the swollen Min River...

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