China Observes National Day of Mourning for Earthquake Victims

China observed a day of national mourning for victims of the earthquake that struck Qinghai province last week with all television stations showing news programming by state-broadcaster China Central Television.

Chinese flags flew at half-mast nationwide and at its embassies and consulates overseas today as all newspaper editions were printed only in black and white. President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the nation’s top decision making body, where shown by CCTV bowing their heads observing a minute of silence.

More than 2,000 people have been confirmed killed in the 6.9-magnitude quake that struck the mountainous northwestern Chinese province of Qinghai on April 14. Hu shortened a visit to Latin America so he could return to China to visit quake-hit Yushu prefecture on April 18, where he pledged the reconstruction of homes and schools.

China observed three days of national mourning in May 2008, a week after a 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck Sichuan province, leaving almost 90,000 people dead or missing.

Internet sites including those of Baidu Inc. and Sina Corp. were also rendered in black and white today. The Ministry of Culture yesterday distributed a notice halting cinemas, musical and dance performances, the broadcast of cartoons, music and the operation of on-line games today.

The European Union Delegation in Beijing flew its flag at half-mast today as a mark of respect for the victims of the Qinghai earthquake, according to a statement by the delegation.

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