Earthquake commemoration unites nations at Shanghai Expo

08:17, May 13, 2010      

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Chinese people at the Shanghai Expo Wednesday took time to remember the devastating earthquake that hit southwest China's Sichuan Province two years ago to the day.

Among the event's international community, people from Chile and Haiti also reflected on the earthquake tolls in their own countries.

<strong>QUAKE-PROOF BUILDINGS</strong>

In the Broad Pavilion, a long line of silent visitors waited to enter a 20-square-meter quake-proof house where an 8-magnitude earthquake was being simulated.

The strength of the simulation was the same as the tremor that left more than 80,000 people dead or missing in Sichuan.

Broad Company, a major air-conditioner maker in China, was trying to reproduce the destructive power with a shaking and thunderous noise that seemed to rock the small house seemed close to destruction.

"I feel great sympathy for the victims. My grief goes beyond words, and I can only pray that all people live in happiness, peace and health," said a monk from Gemeng Temple, Sichuan.

At 2:28 p.m., exactly the time the quake hit two years ago, all the people in the pavilion held a tribute. Commemorative poems were recited, describing the losses of family members, clearly moving many visitors.

Li Bin, deputy head of devastated Beichuan County, who was present, recalled, "Two years ago, buried under the debris, I was filled with fear of death and hope for life. Today, standing in the pavilion of a great Expo, all sorts of feelings well up in my mind."

Technological solutions to withstand earthquakes were also on display. Two years of research by Broad Company had resulted in a pavilion, which was propped up by light steel pillars above the ground.

<strong>FROM SICHUAN TO QINGHAI</strong>

Yi Yang, deputy director of the Sichuan Pavilion, rose early Wednesday so that he could arrive before the crowds.

Yi and representatives from Sichuan had prepared gifts for visitors to commemorate the quake and show gratitude for the help they had received.

With the arrival of visitors, seven girls of the Qiang ethnic minority sang folk songs and showed their needlework skills.

"The phoenix in our embroidery and the flower mentioned in our song carry the message of good luck and happiness. We want to give them to Expo visitors and all the people who helped us," said performer Yechu Nambar.

A member of the Qiang ethnic minority, Yechu Nambar is a native of Maoxian County of Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. Her hometown was one of the areas hit hardest by the earthquake.

People from all walks of life and resources from around the country were sent to assist the Qiang and save their endangered folk culture.

"Today we can express our most sincere and heartfelt gratitude to all the people who helped us," she said.

Elements featuring the earthquake are noticeable at the Sichuan Pavilion. A digital screen depicts the relief operation and reconstruction.


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