Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean continued her visit to China on Sunday, touring a panda research centre and stopping at a school rebuilt after the devastating 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province.


Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean cuddles a panda in the western Chinese city of Chengdu. ((CBC))

The school in Chengdu was constructed anew with lumber from British Columbia.

At least 5,000 of the 87,000 people who died or were never accounted for after the quake struck in May two years ago were schoolchildren. It's believed many were inside poorly built concrete schools. Officials said the new structure will be better able to withstand earthquakes.

Jean's visit to the quake zone follows her recent appointment as UNESCO's envoy to Haiti, where she was born. An estimated 230,000 people died in the Caribbean country when a powerful earthquake struck last January.

Earlier on Sunday, Jean stopped by the Chengdu Panda Base, where workers at the sanctuary placed one of the animals on her lap. Canada is hoping to borrow pandas from China for zoos in Toronto, Calgary and Granby, Que.

The governor general's six-day tour, marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and China, wraps up on Monday with a stop in Beijing.