BEIJING, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- China held a meeting Tuesday morning in Beijing to commend role models in the country's fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, presented medals to recipients of the Medal of the Republic and the national honorary title at the Great Hall of the People. Xi also delivered a speech at the meeting.
Before it started, Xi and other Chinese leaders met with the role models and had a group photo taken with them.
The meeting started with all participants rising to sing the national anthem. The participants then observed a moment of silence for every life lost due to COVID-19.
Renowned respiratory disease expert Zhong Nanshan received the Medal of the Republic, the highest state honor.
The national honorary title, "the People's Hero," was conferred on three other outstanding medical professionals:
-- Zhang Boli, a traditional Chinese medicine expert who presided over the research of the COVID-19 treatment scheme combining traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine;
-- Zhang Dingyu, head of Wuhan's designated coronavirus-treating Jinyintan Hospital;
-- Chen Wei, a military medical scientist who made major achievements in COVID-19-related basic research and development of vaccine and protective medicine.
In addition, 1,499 individuals, 500 groups, 186 CPC members and 150 primary-level Party organizations were commended for their roles in fighting the epidemic. Another 14 Party members were posthumously awarded. Enditem