Archive keeper saves Beichuan County's history from earthquake

13:37, May 11, 2011      

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A total of 85,000 archives that record Beichuan County's 1,000 years of history were buried in the ruins of the Comprehensive Office Building of the Beichuan County Party Committee, where the Beichuan County Archives were kept during the devastating Wenchuan earthquake on May 12, 2008.

Su Yide, former director of the Beichuan County Archives Bureau, lost his wife during the earthquake and did not hear from his two children for two days after. The only thing that he could do to endure his grief was to organize earthquake relief work with local cadres and try his best to save the archives of Beichuan County.

"The Qiang culture is an important intangible cultural heritage in China, which was spread through talking and singing. Collections of paper files in the Beichuan County Archives were handwritten with brushes and pens and once a file is lost, it will be irreparable," Su said.

Su recalled that about 4,000 archives were excavated from the ruins seven days after the earthquake.

The arrangement of the archives had been ongoing for more than two years, and the repair work, arrangement and digitization was finally completed on Oct. 28, 2010. More than 30,000 archives with relatively slight damage passed the national acceptance check. Meanwhile, the File Rescue Leadership Team was disbanded and the Beichuan County Government and the Beichuan County Archives Bureau took over the protection and rescue of the remaining 15,000 archives. Beichuan County also established a follow-up archives rescue team. The repair work for some of the archives is still in progress in Ya'an.

The new Beichuan County Archives will be established in 2011, and all the archives will be moved back to the new county. In addition, the new Beichuan County Archives will also become the first county-level digital archives in China.

By People's Daily Online

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