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The Chinese Embassy Mourns the Victims of the Sichuan Earthquake

On 19 May 2008 the Chinese embassy held a condolence event to pay deep sympathy to the compatriots who have died in the earthquakes in Sichuan.

Early in the morning the embassy raised the National Flag and had it fly at half mast.

About 400 people including all embassy staff and their family, representatives of the Chinese business and media and Chinese people living and studying in London attended the ceremony to mourn the victims of the earthquakes. It was quiet and solemn. The banner which read "Deep Condolences to the Victims of the Sichuan Earthquakes" hang in the front of the hall and the screen showed the moving pictures of the severe disaster and relief efforts. It was so moving that many people cried.

At 14:28 pm all the people stood silent for three minutes to pay condolences to the compatriots who have died.

Ambassador Fu Ying delivered a moving speech. She choked with tears on several occasions. She said: "It is a national morning day today. 14:28pm 12 May will be remembered by every Chinese for ever. In the 200 hours after the earthquakes I and the embassy staffs have followed closely the disaster and relief efforts. Our hearts are with the 140,000 rescue workers. We feel sad for the passing of every valuable life, moved by every miraculous rescue, and pray for everyone who have suffered and their families.

The relief effort has rallied the national spirit and pooled the national strength. Sichuan has not fallen nor has China. President Hu made instruction less than one hour after the quake and Premier Wen flew to the disaster areas within two hours. About 140,000 of the armed police and army were mobilized within days. Donations reached tens of billions of yuan. Many people donated their blood. We see a lot of volunteers help rescue the injured and transport materials. We have let the world see the perseverance and strength of the Chinese nation."

Fu Ying went on to say: "After the disaster, the Chinese communities, students and businesses actively donated for the disaster areas. By this morning the embassy has received 240,000 pounds of donation and will transfer the money back as soon as possible.

The British people have also actively donated. The embassy has received over 2,000 letters and calls, expressing their condolences and sympathy to the disaster. On behalf of the embassy and the people who have suffered, I would like to express my deep respect and thanks to all the British people who have followed the disaster in China, paid sympathy, support and donations to the people in the disaster areas."

Fu Ying said: "There are 33,000 people rescued from the ruins, 240,000 injured being treated. This is a miracle in the world in relief efforts. With the severity of the disaster being unfolded further, there will be a huge demand of tents, medicine, food and quilts. It needs to be solved urgently."

"I have just had phone conversation with Alexander, Secretary of International Development, who told me that in addition to the 1 million pounds of cash assistance, the UK government is preparing 1 million materials including over 5000 tents that can be used for winter. It will be sent to the disaster areas with all the other materials donated by the society.

After the disaster, the embassy was quick in starting its emergency mechanism to keep close contact with the UK government and media to inform them of the disaster situation and relief efforts. The embassy staff voluntarily made donations to the people in the areas and handled actively the condolences and donations from the British public. We still have a lot of work to do. Let's turn grief into strength, wipe off tears with belief, encourage people in the disaster areas with strength, and report to the country with our hard work. "

In the end Fu Ying said: "A country prospers in difficulty. The Chinese nation has the tradition of being resilient and perseverant in face of difficulty. The earthquake can ruin our home but not the will of the Chinese nation and break the backbones of 1.3 billion Chinese people. I believe that with the care, help and support of the Chinese people at home and abroad and friends of all sides, the people in the disaster areas will overcome the disaster, and build a better home with their hands."

Fu Ying's speech resonated strongly with the people who attended the ceremony. People present called "Wenchuan holds on! China holds on! Go Sichuan! Go China!" It was loud and moving.

After the ceremony Fu Ying was interviewed by the Phoenix TV.

In order to show deep condolence to victims of the earthquake, the embassy is open to the public from 19th to 21st of May, 2008. There will be a condolence book and donation box. Staff of the Chinese businesses, Chinese communities in UK, people of all walks of life in UK and diplomatic corp. in London have come to pay condolences and make donations.