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Quake-hit Students to Take Rehabilitation in Russia

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A total of 100 school children from the quake-hit Shaanxi Province would join another 450 from Sichuan and Gansu to fly to Russia on July 23 for a three-week recuperative holiday, the provincial education bureau said on Wednesday.

All children are receiving a 10-day training course in the provincial capital of Xi'an, as a preparatory effort for the upcoming journey.

On May 12, 2008, a strong earthquake hit the southwestern province of Sichuan and northwestern provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu, leaving more than 87,000 people dead or missing and more than 370,000 injured.

According Yu Jihai from the International Cooperation and Exchange Department of the Ministry of Education, more than 1,500 Chinese children from the quake-hit regions have been invited to Russian resorts for rehabilitation.

The first group, including 1,018 children, went to Russia last year for rehabilitation and another 550, including 340 from Sichuan, 100 from Shaanxi, and 110 from Gansu, will be sent this year as a second batch. A children's center in Vladivostok will accommodate the group of 550 children from July 23 to August 12.

"I'm very excited. I've never been so far away from home, and it'll be a happy thing for us after the terrible earthquake," Xi Hong, a high school student from Ning Qiang county, Shaanxi Province, said.

Xi was awarded the title of Excellent Student in Quake Relief Work by the Ministry of Education. She and her sister Xi Yalan helped a pregnant teacher get away from the school building when the fatal earthquake occurred.

Students were selected based on their outstanding behavior during the earthquake and their performance at school.

During the three-week vacation in Russia, they will fully experience the Russian culture and traditions including the food, the handicrafts and decorations.

"We hope this trip could broaden students' views and tighten the friendship between Chinese and Russian young people," Zhang Liang from the provincial education bureau of Shaanxi said.

(Xinhua News Agency July 15, 2009)

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