Sunday 25 April 2010 | China feed

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China mourns victims of Yushu earthquake

Newspapers drained their pages of colour, all entertainment programs were dropped from television and millions of Chinese observed three minutes of silence to mourn the victims of the Yushu earthquake.

 
Students mourn for the Yushu Earthquake victims at a primary school in Kaifeng in central China's Henan province
Students mourn for the Yushu Earthquake victims at a primary school in Kaifeng in central China's Henan province Photo: EPA

One week after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the remote county of Yushu, 13,000 feet high on the Tibetan plateau, China staged one of its largest-ever public displays of grief.

At ceremonies across China, tens of thousands of officials, soldiers and well-wishers gathered in silent tribute to the 2,064 who were killed in the earthquake.

Chinese flags flew at half mast across the country as Hu Jintao, the Chinese president, led the country's all-powerful politburo in expressing the country's "profound condolences".

The previous evening, a fund-raising programme on national television raised 2.2 billion yuan (£220 million) in donations to victims of the quake. The total was even greater than the 1.54 billion yuan raised in the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake of 2008, which claimed 90,000 lives.

Since the earthquake in Yushu struck, the Chinese government has taken great pains to show its concern for the region's largely Tibetan community. Yesterday (weds), the Foreign ministry toned down its usual vitriol when asked if the Dalai Lama would be allowed to visit Yushu.

The Dalai Lama, who China often brands as an evil separatist, asked for permission to comfort the Tibetan community in Yushu last week.

Asked about a possible visit, a spokesman for the Foreign office merely said the Chinese government "fully respected local religious beliefs and customs and was offering counselling".

 
 
Day of mourning
China earthquake
Earthquake in China
Drought in China
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