A Ringing Silence in China

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As I write, (14.28) it is exactly a week since the earthquake. China’s State Council has mandated a three minute silence in honor of the victims. They also ordered the sounding of all horns, air raid sirens etc during the period. You’ll see this on TV so I won’t put up video but it was eerie. All traffic on the usually jammed second ring road outside our Bureau stopped and every single car sounded its horn for the entire three minutes. It was strange to my eyes (and ears) but oddly moving.

That will mark the start of three days of mourning. All flags will be flown at half mast for the period and entertainment channels on TV simply broadcast a copy of the State Council’s order in stark black and white. Internet portals have been ordered to shut down entertainment services such as song downloading etc. Even the Torch Relay will be interrupted. It seems odd after such an outpouring of volunteering by individuals to have the state step in like this, almost as though it is reasserting its authority.

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