China honors quake relief organizations, individuals in Yushu

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A ceremony to honor relief and rescue workers and organizations who helped in the Yushu quake zone was held in northwest China's Qinghai Province Thursday.

The event was jointly held by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the State Council and the CPC Central Military Commission.

A total of 225 organizations, including government agencies, CPC committees, companies, armed forces, hospitals, schools, media institutions, as well as 334 individuals were honored at the gathering attended by about 1,000 people.

Four rescue workers who died in the line of duty were honored posthumously.

The State Council awarded 46-year-old Hong Kong volunteer Wong Fuk-wing, who died while rescuing trapped survivors, the honorary title of "Outstanding Volunteer in Quake Relief."

Wong had survived the devastating earthquake, but he died in a powerful aftershock as he tried to help people trapped in the debris of an orphanage. He rescued four people, including three orphans and a teacher.

Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu and other senior officials presented awards to soldiers, police, grassroots cadres, medical workers, journalists, people from religious circles, construction workers and volunteers, among others.

Addressing the gathering, Hui said the relief work in Yushu was among the most difficult in the country's history because of rugged, high-altitude environment.

"The country organized its largest quake relief operation at such a high altitude, and saved as many lives as possible, treated the injured as fast as possible, and minimized losses," Hui said.

Hui encouraged the Chinese people to unite to overcome difficulties and succeed in the reconstruction.

During the ceremony, Hui led a silent tribute to those who died in the quake and in the rescue and relief operation.

The 7.1-magnitude quake struck Yushu on April 14, killing more than 2,200 people and flattening thousands of homes.

The People's Daily, the CPC's flagship newspaper, will carry an editorial Friday, calling on the Chinese people to carry on the fighting spirit shown in the Yushu quake relief work.

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