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34,000 Confirmed Dead in China Quake


Chinese flags flew at half-staff to mark the beginning of a three-day mourning period for the victims of a massive earthquake that struck southwestern China one week ago. More than 34,000 people have been confirmed dead, and the casualties now include rescue workers. Stephanie Ho reports from Beijing.

The sound of grief was heard all across China.

For several minutes, at the exact time in the afternoon the quake struck in Sichuan Province one week ago, cars stopped and blared their horns. Chinese people came out on the streets and bowed their heads, in remembrance of the quake victims.

One Beijing shopkeeper said he paid his respects, even though he has no relatives or friends in Sichuan, which is 1500 kilometers away.

It is not so far away, he says. We all feel their sadness. We all have the same emotions.

One 11-year-old student said she hopes people in the quake zone can get their lives back together.

She says she hopes they can also rebuild their homes and unite together to overcome the disaster.

This optimism is easier said than done, though. As Chinese around the world grieved for the victims of the quake, official news reports indicated that the casualties may now include relief workers. China's official Xinhua News Agency reports that mudslides in the past few days have buried more than 200 relief workers who have been repairing roads around Wenchuan, near the quake's epicenter.

China Seismological Bureau experts finished reviewing data from last week's quake and have revised its magnitude upward, to 8 on the Richter Scale.

Monday marks the beginning of three days of nationwide mourning. During this time, the Olympic torch relay has been suspended and all public entertainment has been canceled.

And despite the passage of time, rescuers have still been able to find survivors. Official media report that on Monday, at least two women were pulled out of the rubble, alive.



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