China is marking the first anniversary of a
huge earthquake in southwestern Sichuan province. The grief is still fresh, for
family and friends of the more than 80,000 people who were killed or went
missing. Meanwhile, parents who lost their children still wait for answers from
the government about shoddy school building construction.
notes of a lone horn player sounded over Yingxiu, a town near the epicenter of
the earthquake that struck in the afternoon of May 12, 2008.
praises quake response
Following a silent tribute to the tens of
thousands of victims, Chinese President Hu Jintao said the disaster brought the
Hu praised the leadership of the Communist Party, the
central government and the Central Military Commission, for getting the party,
the military and the people to work together.
He says China's response to
the earthquake included the fastest rescue and largest-scale mobilization in the
To commemorate the event, China has made May 12
"Disaster Prevention and Reduction Day." The official Xinhua News Agency says
disaster relief drills were held nationwide.
Early warning system in
China is also working on developing an earthquake
detection system, although officials say such an early-warning system is only in
its experimental stage.
The most politically sensitive issue remains the
more than 5,300 students who died when their school buildings collapsed. Parents
allege that corruption and mismanagement led to shoddy construction. Although
they have tried to petition or sue local and central government authorities,
many complainers have been detained or warned against speaking
Shoddy construction led to collapse
Yao Yunbing lost his 17-year-old daughter when
her high school collapsed. He says the building was sub-standard.
says her school building was made of brick and concrete slabs. He says
authorities just put tile on the outside to make it look new, but that, after
the quake, the four-story building was flattened.
Another father, Xie
Yongfu, lost his 17-year-old son at the same school. He says his son was his
Xie says whenever he thinks about the loss, he wants to
Xie is no activist because his boss told him not to get involved in
protest activities. He also has been busy getting on with his life. His wife is
already pregnant again and he is building a new house on the site of his old