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For Chinese parents, few answers on quake deaths one year later

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Local officials deny any bad intentions and say that the provincial government is now in charge of reporting on the school's construction. They insist that they cannot allow parents to dwell on their loss.

"The dead are dead, and the survivors must get on with their lives," explains Wang Zhen, Juyuan's deputy mayor. "When there's a car crash, the rest of the traffic cannot wait for the two drivers involved to resolve their argument. The police should move the two cars aside and deal with the problem later, slowly. The traffic must pass."

Officials: shoddy schools not at fault

Fifty miles northeast from here, Xiong Yonghao, whose daughter was killed when the Fuxin Elementary School collapsed, says he has also been banging his head against a wall of official indifference.

"I gave up several months ago," he says, despairing that he will ever learn why his daughter died. "It is pointless, meaningless. There has to be a truth, but until there is an authoritative report there can be no truth."

Though some officials suggested soon after the earthquake that the student death toll would have been lower if schools had been better built, such voices have been silent recently in light of the government line. Sichuan's deputy governor, Wei Hong, announced in March that expert studies had concluded that "the high magnitude and intensity" of the quake "are the main reason for the collapse of schools."

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