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Political advisors propose quake relief day
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China's political advisors have proposed to establish a national quake relief day to be remembered on May 12 every year to commemorate last year's devastating earthquake in the country's southwestern regions.

The setting of the special day would help the public "be alert to danger in times of peace", said a proposal put forward by the Central Committee of the Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party (CPWDP), one of China's eight non-Communist parties.

The proposal has been submitted to the forthcoming annual session of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), scheduled to open on Tuesday.

China is a country with frequent natural disasters including earthquakes, it said.

It suggested people to hold various activities to mourn the quake victims at 2:28 p.m. on May 12 every year, the moment when a magnitude-8.0 earthquake hit Wenchuan County in the southwestern Sichuan Province.

The quake, the most destructive natural disaster to hit China for decades, left more than 87,000 people dead or missing, millions homeless, and a huge loss of more than 845 billion yuan (about 124 billion U.S. dollars).

Venues with high-intensity of people, including schools, government buildings, shopping centers, and office buildings should also hold emergency evacuation drills in the context of earthquakes and other emergencies, the proposal said.

One week after the quake, China observed a nationwide three-minute silent tribute to the quake dead, the first of its kind for ordinary citizens. Such privilege used to reserved for state leaders.

The tribute was the highlight of a three-day official National Mourning Period. also featured suspension of all entertainment activities and half mast.

In terms of the intensity and scope of destruction, the May 12 quake is believed to have surpassed the 7.8-magnitude quake in 1976 in Tangshan city, northern Hebei Province, which claimed more than 240,000 lives.

(Xinhua News Agency March 2, 2009)

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