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Special> Aftermath of the Quake> Decoding Everyday Life in Chengdu> Related
UPDATED: June 7, 2008 NO. 24 JUN. 12, 2008
Communist Party Heroes
During the post-earthquake efforts to save lives and provide shelter for the homeless members of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) played a leading role

When a catastrophic 8-magnitude earthquake hit southwestern Sichuan Province at 2:28 p.m. on May 12, causing 400,000 casualties and destroying towns and villages, the country faced a massive rescue operation.

During the post-earthquake efforts to save lives and provide shelter for the homeless, members of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) played a leading role. The following report, published recently in People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the CPC Central Committee, tells the heroic stories of many Party members.

The Sichuan earthquake left the Chinese Government facing a grim task. The strongest and most destructive earthquake since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the scale of the rescue effort in its immediate aftermath was unprecedented.

To decide on how to coordinate the relief effort, members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee held an overnight meeting.

The Organization Department of the Central Committee of the CPC sent out emergency telegraphs, requiring CPC committees at all levels and Party branches at the grassroots level to lead the relief work, and Party leaders and members to work at the frontline as role models. Party members in the quake-affected regions quickly answered the call, devoting themselves to the task.

In Chengdu, capital city of Sichuan Province, the CPC Sichuan Provincial Committee and the Sichuan Provincial Government activated an emergency plan and set up a relief command center.

In Beichuan County under Mianyang City, although the office buildings of the CPC Beichuan County Committee and Beichuan County Government were totally destroyed, officials set up a rescue command office on empty ground.

In Shifang City, Party branches recruited volunteer teams made up of Party and Youth League members. Almost 800 volunteers were recruited.

In Wenchuan County, Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, the Party branch of Luobozhai Village organized its members to dig out people buried by the earthquake and carry them to safe zones on their shoulders or stretchers. They rescued more than 60 people.

In Ya'an, the Party branches of the earthquake-ravaged areas sent out over 100 rescue and relief teams made up of Party members.

In Baoshan Village, Pengzhou City, the local Party branch set up an earthquake relief command center within an hour of the earthquake.

In Lixian County, over 200 Party members from Zagunao Township helped to rescue 26 people who had been buried for four hours.

Deputy County Chief of Beichuan, Qu Yong'an, kowtowed in front of his ruined home, paying respect to his wife and nine other family members buried there by the quake, before heading off to work on the frontline of the rescue mission.

The road from the rescue command office to the county's downtown area was crushed by the earthquake, and was full of rocks, cracks and gaps of around 10 meters. Each day following the quake, Qu walked the road searching for survivors.

Director of the Organization Department of the CPC Qingchuan County Committee, Fu Yuqiong led a rescue team to the worst-hit areas of Qingchuan and directed rescue efforts on the spot, working for eight days in a row to help evacuate tens of thousands of people.

Deputy Secretary of the Party branch of Shiti Village in Ziyang City, Liu Deyou, ran into a collapsing kindergarten to help dozens of children to safety.

Jiang Qinglin, head of Yingxiu Township led a group of rescuers to the local middle school, where he used his hands to move debris to rescue teachers and students, despite sustaining hand and leg injuries in the earthquake.

The house of Liu Bin, Party Branch Secretary of Yangping Village in Pengzhou City, was completely destroyed by the earthquake. Liu worked at the frontline of the rescue effort.

Yuan Shu, a Party member from Guangou Village in Pengzhou City, rescued his neighbors, moved around 20 people to safe zones in his car and drove over 30 km to purchase food for villagers despite the risk of landslides.

Working for three days without break, Cai Xiuhong, Director of the Organization Department of the CPC Mianzhu City Committee, rescued over 60 people buried in rubble.

Gan Zhijun, head of Guihua Hydropower Plant of Pengzhou City, guided 13 villagers and two tourists to safe zones after walking across mountains for 31 hours.

Liao Yongshou, the Party Branch Secretary of Wayao Village, Shifang City, suffered feet and leg wounds during the earthquake. Instead of seeking medical treatment, he struggled to help, saving 15 people and moving over 300 to safe zones.

Tan Qianqiu, a teacher at Dongqi Middle School in Deyang City was taking a class when the building started to shake. He shouted to his students to run. When the building was about to collapse, he pushed four students beside him under a desk and tried to protect them with his body. Tan sacrificed his life and the four students survived.

On May 16, helicopters started to deliver relief materials to Wolong and transport injured people out. Wang Gang, Vice Director of a police station in Wolong, Wenchuan, who guarded the airfield, saw a female photojournalist standing too close to a helicopter while it was unloading. He rushed to push the journalist aside and was killed by the spinning wings of the helicopter.

Xiang Qian, a young teacher at Longju Primary School in Shifang City, was in a perfect position to rush out of the classroom to safety, but chose to evacuate her students first and was killed as the building fell.

Twenty-eight-year-old policewoman Jiang Min of Pengzhou City lost 10 family members, including her two-year-old daughter, her parents and grandparents, who lived in Beichuan County. When colleagues suggested that she should go to Beichuan, she refused. "I still have a job to do here to help the homeless," she said.

After four days of busy work in the settlement Jiang fainted at her post. When she woke she asked to return to work and for the hospital to give her bed to someone injured in the earthquake.

Policewoman Jiang Xiaojuan, of Jiangyou City, the mother of a six-month-old infant, played her part in the post-quake relief effort by breastfeeding more than 10 babies of mothers who were either killed or in shock.

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