A giant panda cub clings to a tree at the Shenshuping base of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong, Sichuan Province. (NORA ZHENG/CHINA DAILY)
A Hong Kong media group is on a five-day visit to Sichuan province to mark the 10th anniversary of the magnitude-8.0 Wenchuan earthquake, which struck the province on May 12, 2008.
Led by the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the 28 members of the delegation are expected to enhance their knowledge about reconstructing and developing disaster-stricken areas, as well as become facilitators for cooperation between Sichuan province and Hong Kong.
The earthquake claimed more than 80,000 lives and traumatized hundreds of thousands of survivors. Substantial support from the HKSAR has been extended, including in healthcare, education, infrastructure and conservation.
The Shenshuping base of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, located in Wolong, to which the HKSAR donated 1.4 billion yuan (5 million) for facility reconstruction and improvement of breeding research, is now home to 55 giant pandas, 19 of which were born last year.
As a token of gratitude, Hong Kong residents can visit the base free.
The group also visited the Sichuan University-Hong Kong Polytechnic University Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction, where the group saw the demonstration of an emergency medical team from Sichuan University's West China Hospital.
The 160-member team can support people affected by natural disasters and diseases globally within 72 hours, with all equipment packaged and transported by air, said Hu Hai, team leader of the emergency department at the hospital.
The team will become the world's first unit to achieve the top standard for civilian use if it passes the World Health Organization's exam on May 4 and 5, Hu said.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club Disaster Preparedness and Response Institute provided training for EMT medical staff. Academic research support of Sichuan University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and other Chinese institutes also benefited the EMT.
The institute has set up labs and facilities for disaster management, including a physical therapy lab, disaster and trauma experience training area and a post-disaster health management lab. Teaching staff at Hong Kong Polytechnic University come to the institute twice a week for exchanges.
Aside from reconstruction and education projects, Sichuan province and the HKSAR have developed technology and logistics cooperation.
The first Hong Kong company to have received millions of dollars from Hong Kong-based Horizons Ventures, Fano Labs will launch its artificial intelligence program in Meishan, Sichuan province, to facilitate local tourism.
The CEO of the company, Miles Wen Haofu, said it will apply the speech recognition and natural language processing technology that was developed at the University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Science Park to enable tourists to ask about historical stories or get background information at some tourist facilities in Meishan.