2008-07-20 14:22:41 GMT 2008-07-20 22:22:41 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
Local people bids a farewell to a PLA officer as his unit prepares to leave Hongbai Town in Shifang, Sichuan province July 20 2008. [Xinhua]
BEIJING, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Hu Jintao, chairman of China's Central Military Commission, has ordered the withdrawal of troops and armed police in different batches from quake-hit areas.
The rescue work in Sichuan and other quake-affected areas were almost finished and the main tasks now were reconstruction work.
The first batch of soldiers would leave on July 21, according to the order signed by Hu.
The order highly praised the contribution made by the troops and armed police to the quake-hit areas and people.
Chen Bingde, chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army called for all remaining forces to continue their work in repairing roads, cleaning remains and epidemic prevention.
The May 12 quake claimed nearly 70,000 lives, injured more than 370,000 people and left more than 18,000 missing.