PHOTOS BY JIANG WANLIU
LIFE SAVERS: Military medical staff work around the clock amid aftershocks to treat the injured
August 1 is the founding anniversary of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA). It's a date with particular public resonance this year because of the crucial role the military has played in the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake.
The 8.0-magnitude earthquake that struck China's southwestern Sichuan Province on the afternoon of May 12 and its aftershocks had killed nearly 70,000 and injured more than 370,000 people by the end of July. Immediately after the most destructive earthquake since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, 130,000 soldiers and armed police officers entered the earthquake zone.
SEARCH FOR SURVIVORS: Soldiers use cranes to dig through debris in search of survivors at the site of Beichuan Middle School, where hundreds of teachers and students were buried by collapsed buildings
Just 13 minutes after the earthquake, the emergency response system of the Chinese army was activated.