BEIJING, April 5 (Xinhua) -- An estimated 120 million
people mourned for the deceased at graveyards or memorial parks on Saturday,
China's traditional Qingming or Tomb-Sweeping Day, the Ministry of Civil Affairs
The number was based on figures
from the ministry's 150 key memorial sites and cemeteries, which in total
received 6.8 million people, up 21.4 percent from the same period last year, the
ministry said in a statement on its website Saturday evening.
The ministry urged people to pay attention to their
safety when going outside. It also asked the public to use more civilized
mourning methods, such as presenting fresh flowers or planting trees instead of
burning paper money, which is a tradition.
A person presents flowers at a cemetery
in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province, April 4,
2009, the day of Chinese Qingming Festival or Tomb-sweeping
Day. (Xinhua/Zhang Wenkui)
As early as mid-March, eight Chinese ministries,
including those of civil affairs, public security, transport and forestry, urged
redoubled efforts to prevent accidents such as fires and stampedes.
In 2008, the government made Tomb-Sweeping Day an
official holiday in response to public appeal. The Civil Affairs Ministry
estimated more than 100 million people turned out for memorial activities last
This year's Tomb-Sweeping Day holiday lasts from
Saturday to Monday. The ministry expects more crowds on Sunday and Monday.
The Ministry of Railways (MOR) had reported a drastic
surge in passenger flow prior to the festival.
More than 5.23 million people traveled by train on
April 3, up 10.8 percent from the same day last year, according to the MOR. Most
passengers traveled for tomb-sweeping, and some for sight-seeing and visiting
relatives and friends.
People present flowers to express
condolences at a cemetery in Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong
Province, April 4, 2009, the day of Chinese Qingming Festival or
Tomb-sweeping Day. (Xinhua Photo)
People are seen at a cemetery in
Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province, April 4, 2009,
the day of Chinese Qingming Festival or Tomb-sweeping Day. (Xinhua/Zhang