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China military cites first troop entering epicenter
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The headquarters of the People's Armed Police (PAP) of China Wednesday issued a citation order in honor of the 200 servicemen for becoming the first troop to enter Wenchuan County, the epicenter of a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck southwestern Sichuan Province on Monday.

The order was jointly signed by PAP Commander Wu Shuangzhan, First Commissar Meng Jianzhu and Commissar Yu Linxiang.

The 200 men, from a PAP division stationed in Sichuan, entered the seat of the Wenchuan county government, at 11:15 PM Wednesday, after walking 90 kilometers in 21 hours. They started searching for the survivors immediately.

Perched among high mountains, Wenchuan county was completely cut off from the outside world in the quake. With much of the roads damaged and blocked by many points by landslides, rescuers had not been able to reach the epicenter many hours after the quake.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has earlier ordered the military to reach the epicenter as soon as possible.

(Xinhua News Agency May 15, 2008)

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