The Qingming Festival,also known as Tomb Sweeping Day,is traditionally a time when Chinese people visit the graves of their ancestors,sprucing up the tombs and remembering their loved ones.
But this year,the day also included a national mourning,which offered people a chance to remember those who lost their lives in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
This is the first time that China has launched national mourning due to a major public health emergency,noted Xinhua.
Starting at 10 am on April 4,Chinese people–from the leaders of the Communist Party of China to schoolchildren and from Wuhan to every corner of the country–observed a three-minute silence to mourn the deceased.
With all national flags lowered to half-mast,all public entertainment suspended and air raid sirens–and horns of automobiles,trains and ships–wailing in grief,“China paused for three minutes,making the world see the unity and strength behind the 1.4 billion Chinese people,”People’s Daily reported.
According to Xinhua,more than 3,300 lives were lost due to COVID-19 on the Chinese mainland.On April 3,14 people who died on the frontline of fighting the virus in Hubei province,including Li Wenliang and Liu Zhiming,have been identified as the first batch of martyrs.
“The national mourning makes people deeply realize that the good results of fighting against COVID-19 don’t come easily.Everyone should treasure life,and understand the significance of those hard struggles,”People’s Daily commented.
As Zhang Xiang,associate dean of the School of Law,Renmin University of China,pointed out,“People can mourn the loss of compatriots and pay tribute to those brave fighters.The national mourning can soothe the public,and more importantly,it encourages people alive to forge ahead,”said Zhang.
Chinese people treasured the chance to show their respect for the heroes in harm’s way.“Today,I’m bidding in my heart a final farewell to the deceased,”said community worker Deng Linghao from Wuhan.“We,who are alive,must stay strong.”
Meanwhile,many teachers took the chance to teach their students about the meaning of death.
Huang Xi,16,from Liyang High School of Jiangsu province,and her classmates were asked to write an obituary.She hoped that those no longer with us can rest in peace,the living can keep a brave and positive attitude,and the world can get back to normal as soon as possible.
“We mourned to soothe the sorrow inside,and by mourning,we can move forward with a grateful mind and awe to life,”she said.