The first batch of Chinese soldiers, 515 paratroopers, boarded a train and left the quake-stricken Sichuan Province after completing their relief operations on Monday.
The soldiers, who left Chengdu at 9:45 a.m., were the first group of a 40,000-strong force due to leave the province.
The troops will leave according to the need for their services, according to the order signed by President Hu Jintao, chairman of China's Central Military Commission.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) has sent a work group to Chengdu to coordinate the withdrawal.
The government mobilized about 130,000 troops, armed police and reservists to help with relief work after the magnitude-8.0 earthquake struck southwestern China on May 12.
(Xinhua News Agency July 21, 2008)