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 about 40,000 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.
Vice chairman Xu Caihou of the Central Military Commission went to Sichuan recently, visiting the residence of some military troops and seeing off the officers and soldiers who are leaving.
Xu called all forces to learn from the heroes such as Wu Wenbin, a 26-year-old military officer with the Jinan Military Area Command, who died on June 18 from massive blood loss in the lungs due to overwork in quake-relief missions, to make more contributions for the Party and people.
Xu also emphasized a safe and orderly withdrawal for the troops.
Soldiers remaining there expressed their determinations to keep on working hard with the locals to build a new hometown for them.
As of July 18, the troops and armed forces had repaired more than 14,800 kilometers of roads, installed 220,000 shelters and relocated more than 1.4 million people.
China mobilized about 130,000 troops and armed police to help with quake relief and post-quake reconstruction following the May 12 earthquake.
The quake claimed nearly 70,000 lives, injured more than 370,000 people and left more than 18,000 missing.