Tangshan, Hebei -- More
than 1,000 people took part in commemoration activities Friday morning in
Tangshan, northern Hebei Province, to mark the 30th anniversary of the terrible
earthquake which killed more than 240,000 people there.
At 8:30 a.m. Friday people from all walks of life headed by Bai Keming,
secretary of the Hebei Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China
(CPC), gathered at a square in downtown Tangshan to lay flowers at the monument
to citizens and rescuers who died in the tragedy.
"Thirty years on, we will never forget the victims of the tragedy, but we
must carry on with courage, confidence and hope," said Bai.
Zhang He, secretary of the CPC Tangshan City Committee, said that citizens
have gradually stepped out of the shadow of the quake and a new Tangshan with a
robust economy, a stable society and happy citizens has been born from the ruins
More than seven million people live in the 13,472 square-kilometer Tangshan
municipal area, including an urban population of three million, according to the
official website of the Tangshan city government.
In the past year, Tangshan's gross domestic product grew by 15.1 percent to
reach 202.7 billion yuan (US$25.3 billion), taking it to first place in Hebei
The 2005 per capita disposable income for urban residents was 10,488 yuan
(US$1,311) and 4,582 yuan (US$572.8) for rural residents.
Bai said that world seismological history shows that it often takes several
decades or even a hundred years to reconstruct a city after a major earthquake.
It took San Francisco 30 years to recover from the 1906 earthquake while
Japan spent 20 years rebuilding after the 1923 Kanto quake.
Yet Tangshan completed its resurrection in only ten years and developed
rapidly over the following two decades. "It's nothing short of a miracle," said
"However, without support from people across the country and from central
government and without the selfless devotion of the People's Liberation Army,
Tangshan would not be where it is today, " said Bai.
Though the disaster took more than 240,000 lives, its positive legacy is the
"Tangshan spirit", characterized by teamwork, toughness and persistence.
He said the Chinese government was keen to commemorate the day and remind the
nation of this dramatic piece of history.
An earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale razed Tangshan, 200
kilometers east of Beijing, early in the morning of July 28, 1976, leaving
242,769 people dead and 164,851 critically injured.
The death toll was kept secret for three years and was revealed in 1979 by
Xinhua reporter Xu Xuejiang.