Torch relay reaches China's quake-hit Sichuan province

Society Materials 3 August 2008 16:11 (UTC +04:00)

The Olympic flame was paraded through a city in China's Sichuan province on Sunday, nearly three months after the region was hit by a devastating earthquake that killed at least 70,000 people, dpa reported.

The first torch bearer in Guang'an city was Jiang Min, a local man who lost 10 members of his family in the earthquake.

Jiang dedicated his leg to the earthquake victims before he ran in a park named after Deng Xiaoping, the former Chinese leader whose home town was Guang'an, the Beijing organizing committee (BOCOG) reported.

"Jiang moved the hearts of all the Chinese during the recent past, standing at the front lines of relief efforts even after losing 10 loved ones to the devastating earthquake," BOCOG said.

Another 188 torch bearers were scheduled to follow Jiang, carrying the torch along a 7.3-kilometre route through the city.

The route was lined with banners bearing the official Beijing Olympic slogan "One world, one dream" and the torch relay slogan "Light the passion, share the dream", as well as others saying "Go China! Go Olympics! Go Sichuan!"

The Olympic flame was scheduled to be taken to the city of Leshan in southern Sichuan for another relay leg on Monday.

China postponed the Sichuan legs of the torch relay and changed much of the schedule after suspending the it for three days to mourn victims of the 8.0-magnitude on May 12.

About 20,000 people are still listed as missing after the earthquake in Sichuan, where several towns and villages were completely destroyed.