Natural Disasters

Anniversary of Sichuan Earthquake Marked Amidst Grief and Criticism

Main image to the post Anniversary of Sichuan Earthquake Marked Amidst Grief and Criticism

Sunday marked a somber occasion as families of the victims of the Sichuan earthquake gathered to remember their loved ones who perished in the disaster 16 years ago. One of the focal points of the memorial was Juyuan Middle School in Dujiangyan, where around 300 individuals, predominantly students, tragically died when the school building collapsed during the earthquake. The families, arriving before the precise moment the earthquake struck at 2:28 p.m., expressed their grief and frustration, with some demanding accountability for the alleged shoddy construction that led to the school's collapse.

Despite the solemn nature of the memorial, tensions flared as some families struggled to contain their emotions and engaged in disputes with authorities present at the site. A mother, who lost her third-grade middle school daughter in the tragedy, openly voiced her anguish and outrage at the loss of her child, stating that her "precious child was sacrificed." The presence of over 100 police officers and officials at the gathering hinted at concerns that the event could escalate into anti-government demonstrations, indicating a delicate balance between mourning and potential dissent.

As families sought closure and answers, the state media highlighted the recovery of the disaster-affected regions, contrasting with the U.S. government-affiliated Radio Free Asia's observation that the Chinese government swiftly rebutted criticism and emphasized the narrative of progress and recovery. Another memorial ceremony took place at a collapsed middle school, now transformed into a heritage site, in Yingxiu, Wenchuan County, the epicenter of the earthquake. Here, local government officials and community members paid their respects to the victims, underscoring the enduring impact of the tragic events that unfolded 16 years ago.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09