Sun, August 15, 2010
China > Mainland > Rain triggers mudslides in NW China

Flags at half-mast in China for mudslide victims

2010-08-14 21:37:55 GMT2010-08-15 05:37:55 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

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. (Xinhua/Luo Xiaoguang)

People pay a silent tribute to the victims of the mudslide disaster in Zhouqu, on Tian'anmen Square in Beijing, capital of China, early Aug. 15, 2010. (Xinhua/Luo Xiaoguang)

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. (Xinhua/Luo Xiaoguang)

BEIJING, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of people gathered at the Tian'anmen Square in central Beijing early Sunday morning to watch a national flag hoisted to full height and then lowered to half-mast, mourning victims of a massive mudslide in northwest China's Zhouqu County one week ago.

A flag at half-mast is also seen at Xinhuamen, the main entrance of Zhongnanhai, the headquarters of the Communist Party of China and the central government, as part of the one-day national mourning.

The State Council announced Saturday that Chinese flags across the country and at overseas embassies and consulates would be lowered to half-mast Sunday to mourn the victims of the devastating mudslide.

Public entertainment will be suspended Sunday in a show of mourning, said the announcement by the State Council, China's cabinet.

The mudslide hit Zhouqu County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in southern Gansu Province, on Aug. 8, leaving 1,239 people dead and 505 missing.

Soon after Sunday midnight, front pages of Chinese websites turned to black and white, in a show of mourning.

Public recreational activities, such as movies, karaoke, and on-line entertainment including games and music are set to be suspended Sunday, according to an urgent circular issued by the Ministry of Culture.

Mourning ceremonies will also be held Sunday in Zhouqu County and Lanzhou, capital city of Gansu. A silent tribute will be observed at 10 a.m..

Sunday is the seventh day since the mudslide occurred and, according to some Chinese traditions, 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 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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