Soldiers with the Chengdu military command began on Friday to clear the rubbles and retrieve the historic documents and relics buried under the collapsed archives building of Beichuan County in southwest China's Sichuan Province.
The six-storey building, now reduced to ruins by the devastating May 12 earthquake, houses around 85,000 pieces of archives, which document the 1,700 years of history of the quake-ravaged county. Of the archives, 8,801 pieces are on the key national list.
The archives salvaged will be transferred to the archives of Mianyang City for classification and storage, China's central television CCTV reported.
The salvage operation, involving more than 300 soldiers, is expected to last three day. So far, over 4,000 archives have been cleared from the ruins, Xinhua news agency reported.
(CRI, Xinhua News Agency July 5, 2008)