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Open Governance

Speech at International Symposium on “5.12” Wenchuan Massive Earthquake Restoration, Reconstruction and Catastrophe Response

(September 22, 2010)

Liu, Qibao

Honorable Mr. Nark, Ms. Ying Ying and Vice President Hong Yi,

Distinguished leaders, experts and dear friends,

  Today is the traditional Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and we are pleased to embrace the International Symposium on “5.12” Wenchuan Massive Earthquake Restoration, Reconstruction and Catastrophe Response to be held in Chengdu, Sichuan. During this important occasion when disaster relief and post-quake restoration and reconstruction are scoring decisive victory, it is of great significance for Sichuan, Shaanxi, Gansu and the Chinese Academy of Governance to co-host this international symposium to conclude and exchange experiences in Wenchuan Massive Earthquake disaster relief and post-quake restoration and reconstruction as well as discuss the improvement of catastrophe response capabilities. First of all, I would like, on behalf of Sichuan Provincial Party Committee and the provincial government, to extend warm congratulations to this international symposium and express sincere welcome to relevant councils of the United Nations, international non-governmental organizations, leaders and experts form concerned countries, regions and fraternal states and municipalities as well as friend at present!

  Two years ago, Sichuan was struck by Wenchuan Earthquake with a magnitude up to 8.0 on May 12, which brought tremendous pain and losses to people in disaster areas. This is the most devastating earthquake since the founding of the new China with the widest range of spread and the most difficulty for disaster relief. Chinese people worked as one and fought in unison, and with the concern and assistance from the international community, we were able to overcome the unprecedented disaster together and achieved victory in disaster relief and post-quake reconstruction, marking a bright and glorious page in the history of mankind. We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks to provinces, municipalities and people across the nation who gave us support and to international community and international friends who offered their selfless assistance!

  As the major earthquake zone of Wenchuan Earthquake, disaster relief, post-quake restoration and reconstruction work in Sichuan have received much concern and attention. For the past two years, we have, under the firm leadership of the CPC Central Committee and with the support from people across the country, overcome the difficulties and rose from crisis, writing a vivid heroic chapter. During the rescuing phase we saved the lives of over 80,000 people from the ruins and through timely treatment we were able to minimize the disability rate. During the settlement phase, we completed the emergency settlement of more than 15 million people just ten days after the earthquake and transitional aftercare cite for more than 12 million people who suffered from damaged houses within merely 100 days. During the post-quake reconstruction phase, completion of projects and investments has both surpassed 85% of the total 29,700 reconstruction projects in the national planning. Great changes have taken place in the earthquake-stricken areas and Sichuan is showing delightful scenes of thriving and flourishing.

  The fight against "5.12" Wenchuan Earthquake provided a vivid case and a valuable asset for disaster relief history of mankind. During the fight against massive disaster and post-quake reconstruction process, we have enriched ourselves with emergency management experience and crisis treatment mode, improved our capability to handle major catastrophe as well as deepened our understanding in responding to the law of natural disasters in a scientific and effective manner.

  First, efficient organization and full mobilization are basic guarantees for catastrophe response and post-quake reconstruction. After the "5.12" Wenchuan Earthquake, the Central Government pooled the strengths of the entire nation and all for the disaster areas and all to support the reconstruction work became the conscious actions of people across the country. Concerned state ministries offered their full support by treating special cases with special measures; party committees and governments at all levels fought with the earthquake by commanding and directing at the front; provinces and municipalities engaged in counterpart assistance spared no efforts in providing assistance and support; cadres and people in disaster-stricken areas were self-reliant and hard-working; all sectors of the society were eager and enthusiastic to donate money and materials. From disaster relief to arrangements of the masses and then to post-disaster reconstruction, rapid mobilization and efficient allocation of manpower, material, financial, intellectual and other resources throughout country within a very short period of time highlighted the superiority of the socialist system and the its political advantage. The victory in Sichuan earthquake relief and reconstruction is the victory of pooling the strengths and wisdom of the country, which fully demonstrated Chinese Communist Party's governing capability, China’s comprehensive national strength and cohesion of the Chinese nation.

  Second, overall and scientific planning is an important method for catastrophe response and post-quake reconstruction. Post-quake restoration and reconstruction is a vast project with a long-term significance. It is not a simple copy of the past, but rather a construction with higher starting point and development of higher level. From the very beginning, we have attached great importance to scientific coordination and overall planning of the reconstruction process. We have combined recovery and improvement as well as present and future in our active exploration of scientific reconstruction. We have given priority to reconstruction planning by giving full play to its roles in guiding, constraining and safeguarding. The reconstruction planning was able to cover every aspect and every phase of the reconstruction work, especially for the rural reconstruction for the first time. We have adhered to the principle of planning and constructing openly and transparently by pooling the wisdom of the whole nation and even the whole world. The reconstruction highlights style formation, reflects geographical features and ethnic customs, thus the style and taste are enhanced on the basis of quality and safety.

  Third, life and people's livelihood come first is the fundamental orientation in catastrophe response and post-quake reconstruction. In disaster relief and post-quake reconstruction, the most valuable experience is the settlement of the masses throughout the whole process. The livelihood of the people is most in need of restoration in the post-quake reconstruction. We maintained to settle the afflicted people, safeguard their livelihood and develop disaster-stricken areas. We have completed the reconstruction of over 1.5 million rural houses one and a half year after the earthquake and basically completed 250,000 urban houses two years after the earthquake. Schools, medical and health institutions and other reconstruction projects concerning people’s livelihood have made the greatest progress and livelihood undertakings and comprehensive safeguarding capabilities in disaster-stricken areas have improved significantly. We have solved problems including expanding employment, getting through winter safely and warmly, supporting and helping destitute families and orphans, the elderly and the handicapped who lost their families, reproduction services and other practical difficulties. For the past two years, no famine, displaced persons, outbreaks of epidemics, social unrest has appeared in the disaster-stricken areas. It is with the people-oriented core philosophy that our respect for life and love for the people rose to a new height thus created a stable and orderly social environment for reconstruction.

  Fourth, reverence for Nature and respect for the laws are the inherent requirements for catastrophe response and post-quake reconstruction. After the massive earthquake, we have gained better understanding of the fact that human beings are the sons of Nature and we are never able to stay out of it, thus we must understand it, respect it and treat it well. During the disaster relief and reconstruction process, we have greatly enhanced the consciousness and initiative to be in harmony with Nature. We maintained to respect science, follow the laws and learn to act in accordance with the natural laws. We have enhanced the ability to prevent disasters, achieve sustainable development, promote harmony between man and Nature and better adapt to Nature to benefit more from it. We have adhered to “three avoidance” during site election for reconstruction, namely no construction in seismic rift zones, spots for potential geological hazards or around river courses used for flood discharge to minimize secondary disasters. During the massive disaster of mountain torrents and mud-rock flow in August, 2010, the reconstruction achievements with the epicenter Yingxiu Town as the representative have withstood severe tests. Facts have proven that the overall site selection in the reconstruction planning is scientific and the construction quality is safe and reliable.

  Fifth, open disaster relief and transparent reconstruction are practical needs for response to catastrophes and post-quake reconstruction. The experience of disaster relief and post-quake reconstruction created a new disaster relief mode of "full participation, full reports and full supervision". We have opened ourselves to overseas assistance in time and received rescue teams and medical teams to participate in disaster relief work from a number of countries and regions. We have timely released disaster-relief information and conditions in disaster-stricken areas, responding to concerns of all parties with authorized and intensive government information. We have actively drawn inspirations and learned lessons from post-disaster reconstruction experience home and abroad, strived not to make detours in reconstruction work, so as to leave no sequelae to the long-term development of these disaster-stricken areas. We have strictly supervised the funds and materials, published information in relation to the reception and allocation of disaster relief funds and materials so that the society would be aware of and supervise the reconstruction work. Against the backdrop of new historical conditions, this disaster relief and reconstruction mode of openness, tolerance, exchanges and cooperation has won universal support and recognition from the international community.

  The International Symposium on “5.12” Wenchuan Massive Earthquake Restoration, Reconstruction and Catastrophe Response with the theme of "scientific reconstruction and harmonious development" will further conclude disaster relief practices, experiences and modes after Wenchuan Earthquake, which will play an important role in speeding up restoration and reconstruction, strengthening the emergency management system, enhancing the human society's ability to respond to earthquakes and other catastrophes. I believe that through our extensive exchanges and in-depth discussions, the symposium will achieve fruitful results.

  Finally, I wish this international symposium a complete success!


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