China mourns quake victims

18:33, April 21, 2010      

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Yangkyi Tsomo carefully lit up a ghee lamp and put it on the audience's stand at the racecourse where nearly 20,000 survivors from last week's devastating earthquake are living in makeshift tents.

"The tiny spark will light up my sister's way to heaven," said the teary primary school student. "We have not found her body yet, but we assume she was killed in the quake."

Her home in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu toppled in the 7.1-magnitude quake last Wednesday, but lucky Yangkyi Tsomo survived with her mother and younger brother.

Without a decent lamp at hand, the girl made wicks out of cotton she pulled out of her quilt.

By 10 a.m. Wednesday, hundreds of lamps had lined up the racecourse where in the summer horses race.

"Men in Yushu are born with an ability to ride horses," said Kelsang, an elderly man in town. "We've lost some of our best riders in the quake."

Wednesday, exactly a week after the quake, the whole Chinese nation shared in the grief and mourned the disasters' victims.

From the epicenter in Yushu to Qinghai's provincial capital Xining, from the Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing to the World Expo venue in Shanghai, people representing all ethnic groups stood in silence to pay tribute to the quake dead.

"Let's remember the dead, and transform our grief into strength to rebuild our homes," said Jia Yingzhong, a top official in Yushu, while addressing a public mourning ceremony at the public square in front of Gyegu's town hall.

More than 1,000 people joined the mourning. They wore white paper flowers, a traditional symbol of mourning in China, and stood in silent tribute at 10 a.m..

Many were weeping.

The national flag in the square was lowered to half-mast and the national anthem played.

A banner, with white Chinese characters reading "In memory of our compatriots killed in the Yushu earthquake", hung in the town hall square.

The quake had killed 2,064 people and injured 12,135 others as of Tuesday.
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(Editor:王千原雪)

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