China Ready to Mourn Dead
The Chinese people continued to donate for the quake-hit zone in northwestern province of Qinghai on Tuesday, while getting ready for a nationwide mourning for those killed in the April 14 earthquake on Wednesday.
A TV charity show on Tuesday evening raised 2.175 billion yuan (about 319 million U.S. dollars) in donations for the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu, where the 7.1-magnitude quake has left at least 2,064 people dead, 175 missing, and 12,135 injured by Tuesday.
In the small hours of Wednesday, most websites and news portals in China have already turned black and white as part of the national mourning, which will be formally kicked off on Wednesday morning.
A NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING
The Chinese flag will be lowered to half-mast around the country and at embassies and consulates abroad Wednesday in a show of respect for those killed in Qinghai Province, the State Council ordered Tuesday.
Public entertainment would also be suspended Wednesday, the State Council, China's cabinet, said in an announcement.
Following the announcement, the Ministry of Culture issued an urgent circular, ordering administrative departments to strengthen supervision of entertainment venues and to punish those violating the rule.
Besides entertainment venues such as cinemas, theaters, karaoke bars, dance clubs and Internet cafes, website groups should also suspend all online services of music, games, comics, films and TV shows.
MORE DONATIONS RAISED
The fund-rasing show, broadcast live nationwide by China Central Television, was made up of songs, poem reading and live interviews, with interludes of brief donation ceremonies.
The donations mainly came from the country's performing artists, dignitaries, news organizations as well as private and state-owned enterprises. The donations will be channelled to the quake zone through the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Red Cross Society of China.
In addition, China's private enterprises nationwide had given 529 million yuan (77.6 million U.S. dollars) as of 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Material donations also reached 94 million yuan (14 million U.S. dollars) in value, said Zhu Ping, vice chairman of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce.
The Chinese government allocated another 300 million yuan (43.9 million U.S. dollars), the Ministry of Finance said Tuesday.
Shanghai companies, government officials, common citizens had donated 150 million yuan (22 million U.S. dollars), as of Tuesday afternoon.
By 4 p.m. Tuesday, 34,468 tents, 77,402 cotton quilts, 55,407 cotton-stuffed coats, 1,106 tonnes of drinking water and instant noodles had been sent to quake zone.
RELIEF WORK BATTLES RAIN AND SNOW
Meanwhile, snow continued to fall on the earthquake zone in rugged northwestern plateau Tuesday, snarling traffic and slowing delivery of badly needed relief goods.
Since late Monday, roads leading to the quake-stricken Yushu county in Qinghai Province have all experienced snow or rain, adding to the difficult delivery of relief goods, said a local weather forecast official.
In some parts, snow on the road accumulated to 4 cm in depth and in others, ice formed on the surface, making it harder for vehicles to move, said Ma Yuancang, vice head of Qinghai provincial meteorology bureau.