Chinese President Hu Jintao and Vice Premier Li Keqiang attended a ceremony Tuesday afternoon at Yingxiu Town, Wenchuan County in Sichuan Province, marking last year's massive quake here.
After guards of honor placed ten floral baskets in front of a symbolic clock, Hu walked and stood with rapt attention in front of a floral basket dedicated by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to all victims of the earthquake one year ago.
All those inside the commemoration venue stood in silent tribute to the victims at 2:28 p.m. (Beijing Time), the time when the massive earthquake took place one year ago.
Chinese President Hu Jintao speaks during the ceremony marking the first anniversary of May 12 Earthquake in Yingxiu Township of Wenchuan County, southwest China's Sichuan Province, May 12, 2009. China held a commemorative service Tuesday afternoon at the epicenter of last year's massive earthquake that left more than 87,000 people dead or missing. (Xinhua/Fan Rujun)
Hu expressed condolences to victims of the May 12 Sichuan earthquake and to those who sacrificed their lives during the quake relief. Hu also walked to a commemorative wall and placed a white chrysanthemum.
Hu, dressed in a dark suit, said China immediately launched the post-quake reconstruction based on the principles of "putting people first and respecting nature," and has since made remarkable achievements in rebuilding residential homes and public facilities including schools and hospitals, as well as in industrial reconstruction and restructuring, historical and cultural protection and ecological recovery.
"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 said the increased overall national strength since China launched its reform and opening-up policy 30 years ago laid a solid material foundation for the country to overcome the difficulties after the devastating earthquake.
He urged efforts to implement the CPC Central Committee's policies and deployment on post-quake reconstruction and take just two years to finish the targets and 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.
Chinese President Hu Jintao places a white chrysanthemum in front of a commemorative wall of the earthquake during the commemorative service to mark the first anniversary of May 12 Earthquake in Yingxiu Township of Wenchuan County, southwest China's Sichuan Province, May 12, 2009. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)
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 said.
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.
Hu called for stepped-up efforts to enhance international communication and cooperation in the areas of disaster reduction, prevention, and international humanitarian aid. Source:Xinhua http://paper.people.com.cn/rmrb/html/2009-05/13/content_251817.htm