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Facts Related to the News

·This sudden and devastating disease of SARS infected 5,327 people (including 969 medical workers), and took 349 lives in China. It ravaged 266 counties and cities on the Chinese mainland, and severely hit tourism, catering, transportation, trade and other sectors.


·Chinese medical workers made heroic efforts in the struggle against SARS, and in doing so put their own lives at risk. Ye Xin, 47, head nurse at the Guangdong Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, for example, died in March 2003 after contracting SARS while treating patients infected with the virus. Ye, together with nine other nurses, was posthumously awarded the Florence Nightingale Prize by the International Committee of the Red Cross for courage and dedication in the line of duty.


·A ceremony was held on June 16, 2003 to open the permanent ship lock at the Three Gorges dam. At 6.4 kilometers long, this is the world's largest ship lock. It was designed to facilitate navigation, allowing ocean-going vessels to continue inland along the Yangtze River.


·The first Taiwanese flight to the Chinese mainland in more than half a century took off on January 26, 2003. Taiwanese passengers flew from Taipei via Hong Kong to Shanghai, the mainland's biggest city. It was the first such flight since 1949.


·China announced on September 1, 2003 that it would further cut its troops by 200,000 by the year 2005.


·China's newly-formed Ministry of Commerce began operation on March 25, 2003, replacing the decade-old Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation ("MOFTEC"). The current minister is Bo Xilai.


·China's economy grew 9.7 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2004, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

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