Chinese President Hu Jintao and Vice Premier Li Keqiang attended a ceremony Tuesday afternoon at Yingxiu Town, Wenchuan County in Sichuan Province, marking last year's massive quake.
Guards of honor placed 10 floral baskets in front of a symbolic white jade carving clock showing the time of the quake. Hu then walked and stood with rapt attention in front of a floral basket dedicated by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to all victims of the earthquake.
All those inside the commemoration venue stood in silent tribute to the victims at 2:28 p.m. (Beijing Time), when the quake struck.
Hu expressed condolences to the quake victims and those who sacrificed their lives during the quake rescue and relief efforts.
The president also walked to a commemorative wall and placed a white chrysanthemum.
Hu, dressed in a dark suit, said China immediately launched the post-quake reconstruction based on the principles of "putting people first and respecting nature" and had made remarkable achievements in rebuilding homes and public facilities including schools and hospitals, as well as in industrial reconstruction and restructuring, historical and cultural protection and environmental recovery.
"The post-quake reconstruction efforts have made important progress, and the quake survivors are marching toward a new life," he said.
Notable achievements had been made in the reconstruction of urban and rural homes and public service facilities, restoration and reconstruction of infrastructure, industrial rebuilding and restructuring, historical and cultural heritage protection and environmental restoration, he said.
He expressed respect and gratitude to all those who participated in the relief and reconstruction efforts, including civilians, military staff and the international community.
He said the increased national strength since China launched its reform and opening-up policy 30 years ago had laid a solid material foundation to overcome the difficulties after the devastating earthquake.
He urged efforts to implement the CPC Central Committee's policies and deployment on post-quake reconstruction and take just two years to finish the targets and tasks originally set for three years.
Hu urged efforts to restore and improve the quality of public services and promote the development of industries with local characteristics and a competitive edge.
Priority should be given to restoring basic living facilities and infrastructure and making sure survivors could move into new permanent homes as soon as possible, he said.
He also encouraged people in the area to rely on their own efforts and work hard to live a better life.
Efforts should be made to monitor and supervise the use of the quake relief and reconstruction funds and goods and ensure the quality of reconstruction projects, he said.
He also urged improvement in China's capacity for disaster prevention and relief and called for joint efforts by the government and the public to upgrade prevention ability.
Hu called for stepped-up efforts to enhance international communication and cooperation in disaster reduction, prevention and international humanitarian aid.
A magnitude-8.0 earthquake struck southwest Sichuan Province and some neighboring areas last May 12, leaving more than 80,000 people dead or missing.
(Xinhua News Agency May 12, 2009)