President Hu Jintao on Monday ordered all-out efforts to help those affected by a major earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale that jolted Wenchuan County of southwest China's Sichuan Province at 2:28 p.m. Monday.
He asked local authorities to rescue the injured as soon as possible and to ensure the safety of people in the quake-hit areas.
Premier Wen Jiabao flew into southwest China's Sichuan Province on Monday afternoon to oversee rescue work.
Wen said during his flight that the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council were closely monitoring the disaster relief work after Monday's earthquake.
"I believe we can certainly overcome the disaster with the public and the military working together under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the government," he said.
China's earthquake administration had launched a "top-level emergency contingency plan" and would send a team of 180 people to Wenchuan for disaster relief.
The Chengdu Military Area Command has dispatched troops to help with disaster relief work in the earthquake-stricken area, military sources said.
Tian Yixiang, officer with the emergency office of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), said the troops will assist local government in Wenchuan county to gauge the current situation and to help with disaster relief work.
Tremors were also felt in Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing municipalities, Qinghai, Gansu, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Shandong, Yunnan, Hunan, Hubei, Yunnan and Jiangsu provinces, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, and Tibet Autonomous Region.
(Xinhua News Agency May 12, 2008)