China mourns in black and white, by candlelight, in solidarity
The Chinese government declared three days of official mourning, beginning Monday, May 19th. At 2:28 p.m. each day, people marked the 5.12 Sichuan earthquake by three minutes of silence.
Photos and video footage show people observing silently, head bowed at street corners, in school yards and offices.
A youtube clip by Ada Shen show people standing silently at a street corner in Beijing, while cars blast their horns. The National Council called for cars, ships and trains to ring their horns. Another video clip from Beijing is found here.
Candlelight vigils took place in public squares, parks in Chinese cities such as Shanghai and also as far away as Munich, Germany.
All media outlets in China, both traditional newspapers and online websites used only black and white mourning shades.
Responding to an announcement from the State Council about the three days of official mourning for the victims of the Sichuan earthquake, all Chinese newspapers nationwide all are printed only using black ink on the front pages today. Most big Chinese websites including Sina, Sohu, TIanya and Tudou have also removed color from their logos and home pages.
Below are some examples:
Beijing Times "Mourning day" and the current death toll.
Yangzi Evening Post The character means "sorrow"
Here's a screen shot of several websites.
These online displays of mourning were undoubtedly influenced by a notice sent by the National Council that Chinese websites shut-down for the duration of the three days of mourning.
1. All websites are to immediately report and give priority to reports on the national mourning days declared by the Central Government, the State Council and in your province. While spreading the word online, also exhaust all mobile means including SMS, MMS, etc. The statement by the State Council is to be given priority spacing on the home page of all major websites.
2. All websites are to stop all entertainment activities and services for three days. From May 19 00:00 to May 21 24:00, all gaming websites and gaming channels of major portals are to shut down; Cover all entertainment channels on websites and programmes with a message of mourning, and none of the other pages within these channels should be accessible; All entertainment BBS's are to be shut; All music and video search functions at search engine portals to be shut; All entertainment advertisements should be offline.
Marc van der Chijs of Shanghai-based Tudou tweets,
"People at our company are working to find best way to temporarily shut down game.com.cn and xiaoyouxi.com. Most other sites are still live."
It remains uncertain if cinemas and bars will be ordered to shut too but John Kennedy of Global Voices reveals in a tweet: "Zhang Xiaozhou mentions friend in Shenzhen ordered to shut his bar down for these 3 days".
Andrew Lih tweets: "Whoa, not just HBO and Cinemax blacked out here in my Beijing apartment, but AXN, Discovery Channel and other "entertainment" channels"
Andrew Lih : "GFW: Very possible a whole slew of sites will be blocked the next three days in China, re: State Council edict. Youtube inaccessible 4 me"
And again: "CCTV flag raising, live"
And yet again: "CCTV: "all public entertainment" cancelled for three days in China."
Microblogging is a hugely popular communication tool between Chinese bloggers and Shanghaiist posted on the Chinese twitterati's response to the three-minute silent observance.
China-based Twitterers too observed a 3 minute silence on the 3 minute silence that took place from 14:28 to 14:31 just now to mark the first of three days of national mourning, and this is what they said immediately afterwards.
inwalkedbud There was just a moment of 'silence' for the earthquake. Cars stopped and blasted their horns for three minutes, whilst people watched.
xiaomiao Is that the Chinese interpretation of "silence"? Still, whatever it was, it was good that everyone thought about the victims together.
apgalbraith Traffic actually stopped at jinling/xizang lu. Stood in the park to watch the CCTV broadcast. Very moving
lonniehodge Still many decibels below normal noise level here in S. GZ
feng37 Here in Panyu everyone started honking their car horns, a city wailing for the dead. Then the air sirens stopped and the horns stopped too.