Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sirens Wail as People of China Fall Silent to Mourn Dead; Wipingaway Tears: Primary School Children in Tianjin, 1, Miles from the Earthquake Zone, Grieve at Morning Assembly Today. Hundreds Died When Their Schools Collapsed and Many More Have Been Orphaned

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sirens Wail as People of China Fall Silent to Mourn Dead; Wipingaway Tears: Primary School Children in Tianjin, 1, Miles from the Earthquake Zone, Grieve at Morning Assembly Today. Hundreds Died When Their Schools Collapsed and Many More Have Been Orphaned

Article excerpt

Byline: ED HARRIS

FLAGS flew at half-mast across China today as the country's 1.3 billionpopulation observed a three-minute silence in honour of the victims of theearthquake.

Officials asked for the horns of cars, trains, ships and air raid sirens to"wail in grief " as everyone fell silent at 2.28pm local timeexactly one week after the massive tremor flattened thousands of buildings.

It came as more than 200 relief workers were buried by a mudslide in Sichuanprovince. The official Xinhua news agency said it did not have any otherdetails of the accident.

The confirmed death toll stands at 32,476 but China says it expects the figureto exceed 50,000. The national mourning period is the first in modern China foranyone other than a national leader.

Public entertainment was cancelled, internet entertainment and game sites weretaken off-line and theatres and cinemas went dark.

Bars, nightclubs, and karaoke parlours in cities such as Beijing, Shenyang andChangsha stopped business at midnight.

The Olympic torch relay was also suspended. The national flag in TiananmenSquare, raised every morning at dawn, was flown at half-mast in a ceremonybroadcast on state TV.

"I have come today with a heavy heart," said student Liu Xianzeng, watching theceremony in Beijing. "I feel for the victims of the earthquake and soldiers whoare helping there." On the eve of the official mourning period, a fresh tremorin south-western China killed three people, injured 1,000 and sent thousandsfleeing their homes into the streets. The tremor, one of the strongestaftershocks since the earthquake, hit Jiangyou city in Sichuan.

As the three days of mourning began, the mood among rescuers still hunting forsurvivors in the rubble was turning gloomy. Yet remarkable survival tales werestill emerging. Two women were rescued today after being trapped in the rubbleof a collapsed building at a coal mine in central Sichuan province. …

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