Hundreds of millions of people on Tuesday held three minutes of silence in China for those killed by the coronavirus pandemic, as anti-aircraft sirens sounded along with thousands of car, train and ship horns across the country.
At 10 am local time (02.00 GMT) citizens stood on the sidewalks in silence, as motorists honked their car horns and sirens sounded in almost every corner of the cities to alert the population to a catastrophe. .
Efe found that in the capital Beijing, many people alone and also several people in groups gathered in silence, covered with masks, for three minutes in memory of the 3,326 fatalities of the coronavirus so far.
Many looked down or ahead with their eyes closed, others congregated next to a nearby Chinese flag at half-mast and all ended the silence with a shout of “Come on China! Followed by applause.
The country’s President Xi Jinping, along with other leaders such as Prime Minister Li Keqiang, also dressed in black for three minutes of silence at the facilities of the Zhongnanhai complex, the seat of the Chinese government, near the Forbidden City in Beijing. , according to official media.
The tribute to the victims of the pandemic was celebrated today to coincide with Ching Ming, or “Day of Sweeping the Graves,” a date on the lunar calendar in which the Chinese traditionally pay tribute to their deceased loved ones and their ancestors.
HOMAGE TO THE DOCTOR REBUKED FOR ALERTING THE PANDEMIC
The Government announced on Friday that today would be a day of national mourning and three minutes of silence would be observed in tribute to the “martyrs” in the fight against the coronavirus and to the “compatriots” who succumbed to the disease.
Among the first, the Government of the province of Hubei announced last Thursday that it would declare 14 people as “martyrs” – the highest honorific title of the Communist Party – among them 12 doctors who died fighting the disease on the front line.
One of the 12 doctors declared martyrs is Dr. Li Wenliang, who was reprimanded in late December by the Wuhan Local Police after alerting his colleagues that in the hospital where he worked there was a group of patients with symptoms of pneumonia similar to that of SARS, which hit China in 2003.
Li, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist, was reprimanded for “spreading rumors” and forced to sign a letter acknowledging his “mistake.”
Later, Li himself contracted the virus and died weeks later, sparking a wave of tributes to the doctor on Chinese social media and also criticism of the authorities’ actions with him.
In Wuhan, where the world-widening pandemic began, citizens also kept three minutes of silence for the deceased today.
In Yiyuan Square, next to the Yangtze River that runs through the city, an official ceremony was held in memory of the victims, reserved only for the authorities.
At least 200 people gathered around the plaza in silence, many of them dressed in black, among visible scenes of emotion, Efe found.
Wuhan cemeteries remained completely closed and access was not allowed, as in other areas particularly affected by the pandemic, where the Government has ordered to reinforce control measures to prevent the spread of the virus in eventual mass congregations.
Authorities have suspended tribute events in areas considered high-risk, limited the number of people who can gather, and recommended using online funeral services to remember the deceased.
The flags of official institutions are now flying at half-staff across the country and at Chinese embassies abroad, where minutes of silence have also been observed.
In addition, the official newspapers and also some private ones have published their digital versions in black and white in memory of the deceased.