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Shanghai remembers...

A YEAR ago yesterday the ground trembled in Shanghai, shaking high rises and sending fearful residents and office workers into the streets, wondering what act of man or nature had so completely unsettled their sense of wellbeing.

It wasn't long before the news media were reporting a major earthquake had struck Sichuan Province. Though there was no immediate casualty toll, many locals were well aware that if the buildings swayed half a country away from the epicenter, the quake must have been an extremely powerful event, with profound consequences.

A year later, we know the outcome: The 8.0-magnitude quake - the worst in decades - left 90,000 dead or missing and 5 million people homeless.

And yesterday Shanghai remembered. In addition to the countless individual observances, college students sponsored activities that honored the quake victims with art and drama. Websites provided a platform for shared grief. The city opened a new museum designed to help local residents survive a disaster.

And the US Consulate in Shanghai lowered the American flag to half-mast at 2:28pm - the exact moment the quake struck - to honor the lives lost.

"Those of us in the US and around the world were impressed by the swift, massive relief efforts and the generosity of Chinese citizens," said US Consul General Beatrice Camp.

Students at Fudan University folded paper birds and posted notes carrying theirs wishes and prayers for the victims. Shanghai Normal University students read poems honoring the dead. East China University of Science and Technology students staged a drama depicting the plight of high-school seniors in quake-hit areas who had to delay their college entrance exams.

Many major Websites organized activities that allowed Internet users to express their grief and pass on their blessings.

Hundreds of people left messages on, one of the most popular Websites in Shanghai.

"Rainbows appear after a rain. I hope to see smiles on everybody's face, and I know that love is passing in our hearts," wrote Nuonuo5023.

"Buildings collapsed in the earthquake, but the spirit in our hearts never will," said Jamescool.

The Website also called on its users to donate blood for the people in Sichuan Province. Similar activities could be found on other major Internet portals such as, and

Shanghai's first museum centered on civil defense education opened to the public yesterday morning in Luwan District. Its goal is to alert locals about evacuation and survival skills to be used in the event of a military attack, natural disaster or environmental accident.

A group of at least 60 elementary school students and other visitors watched demonstrations and videos on earthquakes, typhoons, tornados, tsunamis and fire and chemical accidents at the museum yesterday. They were instructed on how to alert police and escape from fires and subway accidents.

Ten small emergency drills were conducted in communities and schools across the city along with a disaster exercise by the construction authority at a building site in Minhang District.

Numbers measure a city's help

Shanghai was quick to offer aid to quake-hit areas, especially Dujiangyan, which it was paired with in the nationwide effort to help quake victims.

2.5 billion yuan

The city donated more than 2.5 billion yuan (US$367 million) to the quake-hit areas up to last September.

8 billion yuan

Shanghai will allocate 8 billion yuan to aid reconstruction in Dujiangyan over three years.

2,000 doctors

Shanghai Health Bureau sent some 2,000 medical and disease prevention staff to Sichuan, treating 60,665 patients and carrying out 1,157 surgeries by last June.

60 teachers

Shanghai Education Commission will send 60 teachers a year to Dujiangyan over the next three years and 600 Dujiangyan teachers will be trained in Shanghai.

23 schools

Students will move into new schools after 23 reconstruction projects aided by Shanghai are finished by September 1.

20 sites

The Shanghai Welfare Lottery Center has set up more than 20 sites for educational video programs in Dujiangyan.

39 companies

A total of 39 local companies financed the building of a cinema in Dujiangyan.


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