We Still Remember Them After 4748 Days

May 12, 2021 marks the 13th anniversary of the devastating 2008 Wenchuan earthquake.

May 12, 2008, 2:28 p.m., a magnitude-8.0 quake from around 10 to 20 kilometers below the ground hit Wenchuan County in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. Two minutes of violent shaking turned to be unimaginably fateful. It was the strongest earthquake in China since 1949.

The hardest-hit areas covered 130,000 square kilometers. With nearly 70,000 people killed and 18,000 missin

Thirteen years on, the then hardest-hit towns have been rebuilt and those who survived the quake have started a new life.
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Xue Xiao is one of them. He was trapped under the rubble for several days following the earthquake. When asked during the rescue what he wanted to do when he got out, he replied, "I want a Coke." His words moved the mournful people across the country and won him the nickname "Coke boy."
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As a result of his serious injuries, Xue's right arm was amputated. He now works for the Coca-Cola Museum in Chengdu.

That year, several other survivors received as much attention as Xue.

The 9-year-old Tang Xingyue was rescued after being buried in debris for six hours. She has since stopped growing taller due to her injuries. The girl has nonetheless kept pursuing her dream of singing and dancing. She now works as a music teacher for a countryside elementary school.
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The 17-year-old Zheng Haiyang was trapped in a thin crack of rubble for over 22 hours. The moment he was rescued, Zheng made the victory sign. Zheng lost both his legs in the quake. He is now running several businesses, and planning his wedding next year.
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The 12-year-old Cheng Qiang was known nationwide for holding a card that said, "When I grow up, I’ll become a paratrooper" when seeing off the paratroopers who came to the rescue. Thirteen years later, his dream came true.
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Local troops and police were the first to respond, followed by backup from across the country. Rescue forces were largely slowed by aftershocks, landslides and rain. But overcoming all these challenges and even risking their own lives, hundreds of thousands of soldiers and police officers rushed to the scene.
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The public response was tremendous. People lined up to donate money, blood and other supplies. Some even volunteered to travel thousands of kilometers to help out.

A three-minute silence was observed across the nation a week later, with horns honking.
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After the service, many who gathered at Tiananmen Square chanted, “Carry on China! Carry on Wenchuan!”




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