"Roads to these venues were either blocked or threatened by the earthquake, and we are afraid landslides and cave-ins may occur while transporting exam papers," Zhou said.
Four helicopters carried 4,000 sets of exam papers to these areas, and armed police guarded them before the exam started.
Never give up
A consulting room of Chongqing-based Xinqiao Hospital became a special examination spot for three examinees -- the girls from the quake-leveled high school in Mianzu City of Sichuan Province, who are all treated in the hospital.
Wang Li, Peng Li and Zhao Sili, 12th graders from the High School of Dongfang Steam Turbine Company, insisted on taking "one of the most important tests of their lives" despite the anguish left by the quake.
More than 240 students and teachers in their school died after a four-story building collapsed on May 12, while Wang lost her left leg, Peng suffered fractures on both of her legs and Zhao had her pelvis broken.
The consulting room, about 100 square meters in area, was silent.
Outside, six police officers patrolled the area, keeping out unauthorized people, mainly media workers.
Inside, Wang sat the exam in a wheelchair and the other two answered the papers sitting up in bed. Two invigilators from the girls' hometown and medical workers with oxygen bags at hand sat quietly at a corner.
Peng Li's father looked at his daughter through the window in the door from time to time.
"Even after two operations, doctors have warned she can't sit for long, but she has said many times she didn't want to miss the exam," he said.
"She doesn't want to be special and she just wants to finish the exam like her classmates. The result is not important," he said.
The exam went smoothly with the girls taking short breaks as required by doctors.
Deyang City, which administers Mianzhu, sent the exam papers to Chongqing escorted by two education department officials and three police officers.
"They have shown great courage and strong confidence," said Liu Mei, an invigilator.
The earthquake zones have been granted a college enrollment rate of 2 percent more than the previous plan. The Ministry of Education has asked the country's 1,000-plus institutions of higher learning to increase their enrollment quota for students from the quake zone.
(Xinhua News Agency July 4, 2008)