Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

China Earthquake: Day of Mourning

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

China Earthquake: Day of Mourning

Article excerpt

Beijing set Wednesday as a day of mourning over the 6.9- magnitude earthquake in China's western Qinghai Province last week. It is taking a very proactive stance in dealing with the aftermath of the disaster, which killed more than 2,000 people.

China's government set Wednesday as a national day of mourning over last week's 6.9-magnitude earthquake, as it continued its proactive response to the disaster whose death toll has topped 2,000.

Six days since the quake struck remote Yushu County in western Qinghai Province, 17,000 people have been rescued, the Telegraph reported, citing government officials. On Monday, three more people were pulled from the rubble: a girl and her grandmother and a young woman. But the prospects of finding 195 people still missing have dimmed.

The government has responded energetically to the crisis, deploying some 15,000 rescuers to the quake zone, including 11,000 police officers and soldiers. So many military supply trucks are heading to the hard-hit town of Jiegu that traffic on the main road has backed up for miles, reported the Associated Press.

IN PICTURES: Earthquake in China's Qinghai Province

Troubled recent history in region

Beijing has offered considerable public sympathy for quake victims, who are mostly Tibetan. Members of the ethnic minority group, sometimes accused of separatist desires, can bristle at the government's tight control. Protests broke out in Tibet in March 2008, the 49th anniversary of an uprising against Chinese rule, and escalated into full-scale riots. Unrest also grew in Tibetan communities in neighboring provinces. China responded with a show of force that indicated no tolerance for autonomy, and cut off the region from the rest of China.

Another sensitive subject is the death toll among schoolchildren - in the massive 2008 Sichuan earthquake, many schools collapsed while surrounding buildings stood, triggering anger over shoddy construction. …

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