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Grieving China Observes a Moment of Silence


It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. This is the day that China paused to remember a tragedy the scale of which we still don't know. Thirty-four thousand people are confirmed dead in China's earthquake, but tens of thousands more remain missing.

Today in Beijing our correspondent Laura Sydell was in front of that city's world trade center when she recorded this sound.


(Soundbite of siren)

INSKEEP: That's the sound of sirens and car horns, which is the way that people marked the beginning of an official three minutes of silence to remember the victims. Tang Mi(ph) said the last time he remembers a moment like this was when Chairman Mao died. But this is different.

Mr. TANG MI: (Through translator) When Chairman Mao passed away, it was one person who was passing. This time it's many thousands, tens of thousands of my fellow countrymen that are dying.

INSKEEP: Another person in the crowd in Beijing was Chu We(ph).

Ms. CHU WE: (Through translator) At first it made me feel very - a lot of pain and really uncomfortable, but I think we'll be able to rebuild even bigger and better.


INSKEEP: That will be difficult though. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

INSKEEP: She did say she thinks the country will rebuild bigger and better, but the relief effort will be an immense undertaking, and the rebuilding as well, and the challenges ahead are equally massive.