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China remembers quake victims on first anniversary

By Xinhua,

Yingxiu (China) : China Tuesday mourned the deaths of thousands of people who perished in a devastating earthquake that struck southwestern Sichuan province exactly a year ago.

A memorial function was organised here in Sichuan province to mark the first anniversary of the quake that left 87,000 people dead or missing and rendering millions homeless.

President Hu Jintao and Vice Premier Li Keqiang attended the ceremony and paid floral tributes to the victims in front of a symbolic clock with its hands frozen at 2:28 p.m., the exact time when the temblor hit the province on May 12, 2008.

A minute of silence was observed at that time at the commemoration venue.

Expressing his condolences to quake victims and those who sacrificed their lives during the relief and rescue efforts, Hu said China immediately launched the post-quake reconstruction based on the principles of “putting people first and respecting nature”.

“The post-quake reconstruction has registered important progress, and the quake survivors are marching toward a new life,” he said.

He expressed respect and gratitude to all those who have participated in the quake relief and reconstruction efforts, including civilians, military staff and the international community.

He urged efforts to implement the Communist Party’s policies and deployment on post-quake reconstruction and take just two years to finish the tasks originally set for three years.

“Priority should be given to restoring the basic living conditions and infrastructure and make sure people in the quake-hit area live in permanent homes as soon as possible,” he said.

He also encouraged people in the quake-hit area to rely on their own efforts and work hard to live a better life.

Efforts should be made to monitor and supervise the use of the quake-relief and reconstruction funds and goods and ensure the quality of reconstruction projects, he added.

He also urged efforts to enhance the country’s capacity in disaster prevention and relief and called for joint efforts from both the government and the people to upgrade the overall prevention ability against natural disasters.