A memorial ceremony was held for the victims of the March 29 landslide in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region yesterday, as rescuers continued their search for bodies.
A granite monument, about 2 meters high, was erected on open ground in Serbo Village, about 6-7 kilometers from the site of the landslide which buried 83 mine workers in Maizhokunggar County.
Hanging behind the monument was a long black banner with both Chinese and Tibetan characters in white, expressing "deep mourning" for those who were killed in the disaster.
Chen Quanguo, Party chief of the autonomous region, and other top regional officials stood in silent tribute, bowed and offered chrysanthemum flowers at the monument.
"Take care" and "live on for a good life," Chen told more than 10 relatives while shaking hands with each of them.
Yesterday was the seventh day since the landslide, which occurred early on the morning of March 29 when an estimated 2 million cubic meters of mud, rocks and debris swept through camps at the Jiama Copper Polymetallic Mine.
The mine is run by Tibet Huatailong Mining Development Co Ltd, a subsidiary of the country's largest gold producer, China National Gold Group Corporation.
According to Chinese tradition, the seventh day after the death of a person is an important memorial occasion for relatives.
Several hundred people, including rescuers and local people, lined up to offer flowers or hada, a strip of raw silk and linen as a blessing, in front of the monument.
"I have many words I want to say to my mother," said tearful Yan Zhanbing, a young man whose mother Huang Tianxiu was among the 83 miners.
Yan is a native of Wuji County in north China's Hebei Province. He said his father was due to arrive in Lhasa, the regional capital, today.
As of Wednesday afternoon, rescuers had pulled 66 bodies out of the debris. Seventeen remain buried. Of the 83, four were women.
Several thousand people had joined rescue efforts, despite the bitterly cold weather and threats of further landslides.