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Blogging Beijing

The 2008 Summer Olympics will punctuate three decades of development and test China's global legitimacy. They've already transformed the way millions of people think and live. Seattleite and Fulbright researcher Daniel Beekman brings you Beijing.

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May 19, 2008 7:22 PM

Three days of mourning

Posted by Daniel Beekman

Today, China began to officially honor those people who perished as a result of the May 12 Wenchuan Earthquake in Sichuan province. At 2:28pm, the country observed three minutes of rememberance - seven days after the natural disaster began.

According to the Associated Press:

China stood still and sirens wailed Monday to mourn the country's tens of thousands of earthquake victims, as the search for survivors increasingly became a search for bodies. Construction workers, shopkeepers and bureaucrats across the bustling nation of 1.3 billion people paused for three minutes at 2:28 p.m. - exactly one week after the magnitude 7.9 quake hit central China. Air-raid sirens and the horns of cars and buses sounded in memory of the estimated 50,000 dead.

Millions of Beijingers paused. Workers stopped working. Students lowered their heads. Drivers parked their cars. Behind a chorus of horns and sirens, the city's birds kept on chirping.

Sympathetic Sounds (original audio) - Haidian District, Beijing

China's central television stations, CCTV1 through CCTV9, ran earthquake coverage all day. Beijing's television stations followed suit. For the most part, programming consisted of: live updates from the relief effort in Sichuan, compassionate messages from viewers, graphic rescue montages set to music, interviews with survivors and heroes, and scenes from today's three-minute observance.

Sypathizers packed Tian'anmen Square in central Beijing for a rally in solidarity with the earthquake's victims. Thousands chanted Zhongguo jiayou, Sichuan jiayou ('Go China, Go Sichuan' - lit. 'Add gas China, Add gas Sichuan').

Three Minutes to Remember (CCTV News)

An emotional Tiananmen Square (CCTV News)

A television reporter conducted interviews outside of the Bird's Nest - Beijing's new National Stadium, where the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 2008 Olympic Games will be held. One interviewee remarked, 'In spite of the earthquake, the Olympics will succeed."

Earthquake newslinks:

'2 men pulled from rubble a week after China quake'

'China pauses to mourn'

'Mudslides bury 200 relief workers, death toll could increase'

'Sirens, horns wail across China as country mourns earthquake victims'

Earthquake commentary:

'Dispatches to the Seattle Times from Pacific Northwest eye-witnesses in Chengdu'

'Emotions flow freely on first of three national mourning days'

'Cultural Angles on Donations'

'History of the Chinese Red Cross - Part One'

'News tracker helps uncover citizen journalism story in earthquake aftermath'

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