Xinhua Headlines: China pauses in silence to mourn lives lost to coronavirus

Source: Xinhua| 2020-04-04 21:24:46|Editor: huaxia

China, with its 1.4 billion people, came to a halt from 10:00 to 10:03 a.m.

Heroes who died on duty fighting the coronavirus outbreak received the highest form of commemoration by the state.

BEIJING, April 4 (Xinhua) -- China paused in silence on Saturday to mourn the lives lost to the coronavirus outbreak.

President Xi Jinping led the national mourning, which paid tribute to martyrs who sacrificed their lives fighting the outbreak and fellow Chinese who died.

The nation, with its 1.4 billion people, came to a halt for a full three minutes, from 10:00 to 10:03 a.m.

Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, led other Party and state leaders including Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, Han Zheng and Wang Qishan to attend the national mourning.

Inside the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in central Beijing, they stood in silence, had white flowers pinned to the chest, and paid a silent tribute in front of a national flag, flying at half-mast outside the Huairen Hall.

A black banner hung over the doorway of the hall, with white characters "deeply mourn for martyrs and compatriots who died in COVID-19 outbreak."

Xi Jinping and other Party and state leaders stand in silence during the national mourning, in the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing, capital of China, on April 4, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

In Beijing, flags were lowered to half-staff from Tian'anmen Square to the compounds of the central leadership organs of the Party, the national legislature, central government, national political advisory body, military, top court and top procuratorate.

Across the nation, air raid sirens blared. Cars, trains and ships honked horns. Public recreational activities were suspended for the day. Across the world, flags also flew half-mast at Chinese embassies and consulates.

A Chinese national flag flies at half-mast at Tian'anmen Square in Beijing, capital of China, April 4, 2020. (Xinhua/Ju Huanzong)

The National Health Commission (NHC) on Saturday said 81,639 confirmed cases had been reported on the Chinese mainland, with 3,326 deaths. Global coronavirus cases, meanwhile, have topped 1 million, with more than 50,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

The COVID-19 outbreak is considered a major public health emergency that is the fastest spreading, most widely affecting and most difficult to contain since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

A certain number of health professionals, cadres and staff members, as well as community workers, died on duty fighting the outbreak.

On Saturday, these heroes received the highest form of commemoration by the state.


Saturday is also China's Tomb-sweeping Day, known as the Qingming Festival, an important occasion for the Chinese to visit cemeteries, sweeping tombs and mourning their ancestors.

This year, "tomb sweeping" was done virtually on the internet and mourning for coronavirus victims was a main theme.

People attend a public commemoration in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, April 4, 2020. (Xinhua/Fei Maohua)

In Wuhan, the hardest-hit city in central China's Hubei Province, a commemoration was held at a large outdoor public square.

People bowed in the square on the bank of the Yangtze River, with the siren sounding in the sky. Police stood by their vehicles at a nearby bridge and took off their caps.

Pedestrians, sanitation workers, factory workers, and even children stopped what they were doing and stood in silence for the moment.

"Today, I'm bidding in my heart a final farewell to the deceased," said community worker Deng Linghao. "We, who are alive, must stay strong."

Subway trains in big cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, briefly suspended operations. Passengers stood up in subway cars. Station staff observed a moment of silence on the train platforms.

Subway passengers stood in silence and bowed in Beijing, capital of China, April 4, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

Commemorations were also held in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, as well as in overseas Chinese communities.

A total of 845 confirmed cases, including four deaths, had been reported in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 43 confirmed cases in the Macao Special Administrative Region, and 348 in Taiwan, including five deaths.

"The compatriots on the mainland have made a huge sacrifice to defeat the epidemic, which also showed how great we Chinese people are," said Huang Zhi-xian, a Taiwan journalist.

Black was the color of the day. Many people, including national leaders, dressed in black. Newspapers, websites, news app interfaces, social media images were turned black-and-white.

Hunan Satellite TV, a leading Chinese channel known for entertainment content, took all dramas, entertainment and variety programs off-air for Saturday.

A health worker (L) keeps working while the other pays a silent tribute in a hospital in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, April 4, 2020. (Xinhua/Cai Yang)

Many people mourned the coronavirus martyrs and victims online, posting images of candles and chrysanthemums against black backgrounds.

The topic "National Mourning" is trending on Sina Weibo, attracting over 2 billion reads by Saturday afternoon.

"Farewell to heroes, and may those who died rest in peace," says a widely-shared message on social media.


According to the NHC, though more than 76,751 patients -- or 94 percent of all confirmed cases -- have been discharged, there were still 1,562 patients being treated in China.

"We still have a few patients. We can't relax," said Zhang Jianchu, a respiratory disease doctor in Wuhan. "We will wipe our tears and fight to secure the ultimate victory of this battle."

Tears well up in a woman's eyes as she mourns coronavirus victims in Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou Province, April 4, 2020. (Xinhua/Ou Dongqu)

As domestic transmission has basically been curbed, China is putting more efforts to guard against imported cases, get people back to work and provide humanitarian aid to other countries and international organizations battling the pandemic.

China has donated large amounts of face masks, test kits and protective suits to countries around the world. Factories run day and night to produce ventilators and protective gear for urgent international orders on top of meeting domestic demands.

By late March, over 95 percent of industrial enterprises outside Hubei had got back to work.

Authorities said the nation must strive to achieve this year's goals for economic and social progress.

On Saturday, factory workers donning face masks in cities from Wuhan to Harbin were seen pausing their work to stand and bow in silence.

Battling the COVID-19 outbreak has been an unprecedented test on China's journey towards national rejuvenation.

"The situation at present is hard-earned. Having gone through the fight, every one of us now must work harder and strive for a better life," said Zhao Yi, a young factory worker in Wuhan.

(Video editors: Li Ziwei, Zhu Cong)