McGill experts to anchor China earthquake conference on June 21


McGill medical student organizes June 21 gathering on causes and effects of massive seismic event

Five academics from McGill University will pool their expertise to put the May earthquake that struck the Chinese province of Sichuan into context. They will speak at the China Earthquake Conference to be held in Montreal on June 21.

Dr. John Stix, Chair of McGill University’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, will open the conference with a presentation on the science and natural history of the massive, 8.0 magnitude earthquake. He has previously been called upon by Canada AM, the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets to discuss the disaster, which claimed more than 70,000 lives, with 20,000 people still missing.

Dr. Erik Kuhonta, of McGill’s Department of Political Science, and Dr. Sam Noumoff (ret.), Dr. Peter Button and Dr. Griet Vankeerberghen, of the Department of East Asian Studies, will host a panel discussion which will put the disaster into historical context, analyze media coverage following the event and compare China’s reaction to that of the military junta in neighbouring Burma (Myanmar) after the devastation of Cyclone Nargus. Other presentations will include representatives of NGOs and other institutions who have been in the disaster zone.

The conference, organized by Julian (Zhunping) Xue, will take place at the conference hall of the Montreal Chinese Community and Cultural Center on Saturday, June 21. Xue, who was born in China and raised in Canada, is a first-year student at McGill’s Faculty of Medicine.

“This earthquake will be a demarcation point in Chinese history,” Xue said. “American politics can be divided into pre-9/11 and post-9/11 periods; this quake will be same thing for China. Something of this magnitude demands that we reflect and strive to understand it, if we want to generate the type of long-term social response that is necessary.”

What: China Earthquake Conference

When: Saturday, June 21, 2008 – 1 to 6 p.m.

Where: Montreal Chinese Community and Cultural Center
1088 Clark Street
Montreal, Quebec H2Z 1K3

Admission: Free and open to the general public.

Contact Information

Julian Z. Xue
Conference Organizer
zhunping.xue [at]
Office Phone: