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China Mourns Mudslide Victims
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  • http://english.dbw.cn銆€銆€ 2010-08-16 08:47:28

    The national flag of China flies at half-mast on Tian'anmen Square in Beijing, capital of China, early Aug. 15, 2010, to mourn for the victims of the mudslide disaster in Zhouqu. National flags across the country and at overseas embassies and consulates are to be lowered to half-mast Sunday to mourn the victims of the devastating mudslide which hit Zhouqu County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in southern Gansu on Aug. 8, 2010. [Photo:Xinhua/Luo Xiaoguang]

    Amid sirens and horns wailing, people across China Sunday stood in tribute to victims of a massive mudslide in a remote northwest town.

    Chinese leaders, students, workers and member's of the public paused for three minutes at 10 a.m. Sunday, a week after the devastating mudslide hit Zhouqu County, in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Gansu Province.

    At least 1,239 people have died and 505 are listed as missing.


    At the Dongjie Village in Zhouqu, more than 5,000 rescuers and villagers stood still on the debris of mudslide, bowing their heads in commemoration of those killed in the disaster.

    A huge black banner written hung in front of the mourners, and wreaths lay on the ground. The white lettering on the banner read, "Mourning in deep grief for deceased compatriots of the Zhouqu massive mudslide.

    "I only feel sad as I stand on the debris of our homes," said villager Zhang Xiujuan.

    "Although my husband, my son and I survived, I lost more than 30 relatives in the mudslides," she said.

    In Dongjie, two thirds of the families were buried when the mudslides struck. And 368 of the 848 villagers died in the disaster.

    Before and after the three-minute tribute, rescuers including troops and medical workers continued to clear the debris, searching for bodies and spraying disinfectant in the area.

    Some survivors sat silently on the debris, still holding out hope that the bodies of relatives could be found.

    In temporary tents, some bowed their heads, some knelt and some put their palms together to pray for the dead. Loud cries could be heard from time to time in the shelters.

    "May the deceased rest in peace. We the people who are still alive must be strong and continue our lives," said Han Ying, who lost all her family members in the disaster.

    Tibetans account for about a third of the total population in Zhouqu. The county sits in the steep valley of the Bailong River, a tributary of the Jialing River, which meets the mighty Yangtze River in Chongqing, and is hemmed in by rocky mountains on both sides.

    At the nearby Heiyu and Labrang Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, monks and believers attended a religious ritual to mourn for the dead.

    In Lanzhou, the provincial capital, about 10,000 people gathered at a city square to show respect for those killed in the mudslide.

    Chinese national flags across the country and at embassies and consulates abroad flew at half mast Sunday. All public entertainment activities, such as movies and karaoke, and on-line entertainment, including games and music, were ordered to be suspended. Home pages of Chinese websites were turned black and white.

    In central Beijing, thousands of people gathered at the Tian'anmen Square early Sunday to watch the national flag hoisted to full height and then lowered to half-mast, shouting "Go Zhouqu! Go China!"

    At the Shanghai World Expo Park, all performances were cancelled and background music was turned off.

    The Gansu Pavilion would not hold any entertainment activities until September, its spokesman Wang Shigang told Xinhua.

    Visitor Du Jingli, 50, had planned to visit the China Pavilion first, but changed her mind when she heard a tribute would be observed at the Gansu Pavilion Sunday.

    "I don't know what to say, I just feel sorrowful," she said, presenting her flowers at the Gansu Pavilion and gazing at a Gansu map.

    In the flood-ravaged Yaque Village, in Yongji County of northeastern Jilin Province, thousands of villagers could not feel happy although power supplies were restored Sunday after days of disruption.

    "There were no cheers when the power resumed. We paused to remember those dead in Zhouqu," said Yang Hongming, head of the village.

    "In spite of the long distance, we, as people also in disaster-hit zones, have a special affection about the people in Zhouqu. We will rebuild our homes along with them," he said.

    According to Chinese tradition, the seventh day after a death marks the height of the mourning period.

    Large-scale national displays of mourning are rare in China.

    China observed a three-day national mourning period after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, and a one-day national mourning after the Yushu quake in Qinghai Province on April 14 this year.

    On both occasions, the national flag was lowered to half-mast and all public entertainment was suspended.

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    Author锛? 銆€銆€銆€Source锛? xinhua 銆€銆€銆€ Editor锛? Wu Qiong
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