State media

Three day mourning period

Newspapers nationwide are using only black ink on their front pages, and the government has announced an official mourning period of three days, including asking for three minutes of silence at 2:28 pm today.

From The China Daily:

Nation in grief as quake toll hits 32,476

China on Monday began a three-day national mourning for the tens of thousands of people killed in a powerful earthquake which struck the country's southwest on May 12.

At 4:58 a.m., the national flag at the Tian'anmen Square in downtown Beijing flew at half-mast after a complete flag-raising ceremony.

All public amusements will be suspended for three days from Monday.

The State Council, the Cabinet, on Sunday ordered a nationwide display of respect for the dead.

China's missions abroad were also ordered to observe the order, and condolence books are to be opened in the Foreign Ministry and Chinese embassies and consulates around the world.

The public are asked to stand in silence for three minutes from 2:28 pm on Monday, the time the deadly quake hit, while automobiles, trains, and ships would sound their air sirens.

The confirmed death toll from the disaster has risen to 32,476 by 2:00 pm Sunday, and the toll would possibly rise to more than 50,000 as many, still buried in rubbles, are feared dead.

Apparently, gaming and entertainment websites have been ordered by at least some government departments to shut down or suspend operations for the next three days. Shanghaiist has more about this including a translation of an announcement about the mourning period for websites from the the government of Hefei, capital city of Anhui Province.

Update: Athough the China Daily article was vague about what constitutes "public amusements," other papers offer more detailed reports:

The Beijing Times reports that Beijing's Houhai bar district will be music-free for the next three days. KTV chains Melody and Party World shut down last night. The Ministry of Culture will patrol entertainment venues to ensure compliance.

The Xiaoxiang Morning Post reports that screens at cinemas across the country will remain dark for the mourning period. The province's television stations will replace normal broadcasts of TV series with special earthquake-related programming.

Imagethief comments:

In a period of disaster the government is naturally preoccupied with its domestic audience, as it should be. However if the entertainment and Internet blackout turns out to be comprehensive, it could end a stretch during which international press coverage of China has been largely sympathetic and positive, with much discussion of the openness (also here and here and from the Internet standpoint here) with which the quake has been covered. Exercising of government fiat over of a broad swathe of private business in the interest of enforcing a period of national mourning is the kind of thing that would remind everyone that, "Grandpa Wen" or not, the recent openness might have just been a brief honeymoon.

There are currently 9 Comments for Three day mourning period.

Comments on Three day mourning period

I think it is definitely not in line with Western values to force people to observe moments of silence. We might look down on people who appear not to respect things like that (e.g. the Obama pledge of allegiance rumors), but we would find it strange and oppressive to force the private sphere to alter their activities like that. Hearing that "The Ministry of Culture will patrol entertainment venues to ensure compliance" just sort of creeps me out.

But I guess I can understand where it's coming from. That said, I personally feel that if people aren't willing to stay silent for that period of time, you're not going to gain anything by forcing them.

For Andrew, wwo words: princess diana

I should say that no one force us to mourn for the people who were killed in the earthquake.Chinese people are all so sad that we want to do anything we can to help them,save them and mourn for them.Nowadays,we don't want to play games or entertain ourselves at all because so many people are dead.Staying silent to mourn,donating blood and contributing money is the only things that we can do to help,to release our sadness.I don't know why someone think we aren't willing to do these things.As a matter of fact we can't be nonchalant.
I can't understand why someone here said sarcastic remarks.Too inhuman!

so many people died in the earthquake. You know that, it's 32,476 till now. It's not so easy for anyone but you to say something inhuman. why do you think people are forced to mourn. We are so sad for hearing the earthquake, watching the report, receiving the toll. Mourning is a way to let our lament out.

I think considering the scope of the tragedy, it's right for businesses to observe the mourning and the only way to enforce it is through regulation.

Many countries do not allow businesses to open on certain days, like Sundays.

Maybe there should be one month posthumous mourning too for all those millions who died during the Great Cultural revolution too.
Yes we all feel the sorrow for the dead and alive.But no need to be hypocritical about it.Why not have a Requiem Mass?
Better make sure the living refugees are well looked after and not forgotten, that corruption doesn't sink in.Beware of disaster relief fat cats!

Can anybody imagine the United States government waiting an entire week after "9-11" and then on September 18, 2001 initiating a nationwide 3 day television ban on sports and entertainment programming? No ESPN, no MTV, no David Letterman; no Canadian networks (All 4 Hong Kong TV stations were blacked out in Guangzhou) with every US network forced to carry coverage of the tragedy's aftermath?
I believe in the entire world only China and perhaps North Korea could pull this off.

By the way, I was in the Guangzhou subway during the three minutes of "sirence" (a new English word created in China!)

US did not black out TV, they just criminally invaded iraq. think i prefer TV blackout.

Why 7 days: It's a Chinese tradition to mourn the dead the seventh day after their death. It's the way to show respect for the dead. Not for show, just for mourn.
We will forgive you for not knowing the tradtion and thus said what you said. But we will definitely NOT forgive you or anyone for not respecting the dead!

China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
From 2008
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Culture and corporate propaganda in Soho Xiaobao (2007.11): Mid-2007 issues of Soho Xiaobao (SOHO小报), illustrating the complicated identity of in-house magazines run by real estate companies.
+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!
Danwei Archives