About two dozen people gathered during a rainy Friday morning to mourn their deceased family members at the site of last Saturday's deadly train crash in the city of Wenzhou in east China's Zhejiang Province.
Mourners placed flowers, lit candles and spirit "money" at the site. A scrap of metal salvaged from one of the crushed train carriages was laid nearby. They took turns kneeling and whispering messages to their dead loved ones. Some stood silently, while others sobbed or wailed uncontrollably. All refused to speak to reporters.
A woman with short hair and glasses nearly passed out when she murmured to her deceased family member.
While the mourners performed the solemn rituals and high-speed trains roared past on the bridge overhead, people throughout the country paid their respects. Buddhist temples in Zhejiang, Shanghai, Hubei and Hebei held prayer meetings for the victims. They chanted scriptures to help release the souls of the deceased from suffering.
On China's popular Twitter-like microblog site Weibo, nearly 80,000 messages had been posted by 3 p.m. Friday to express regrets for the dead and blessings for their families on the traditional mourning day.
"Let the dead rest in peace; there are no high-speed trains in the heavens," said the official Weibo account of the Zhengzhou Evening News. The post was forwarded more than 3,000 times.
Another blogger, Huang Lilu, editor-in-chief of the China Entrepreneur magazine, suggested the government establish a day of mourning for major accidents beginning with this one in order to not only showcase the regrets and respects for the deceased, but also to remind the people responsible for the accident of their shame.
Many Weibo users said to continue to ask for the truth about the accident is the best way to mourn the dead.
On Thursday night, more than 1,000 Wenzhou residents gathered at the city's Century Square to mourn the train crash victims. They used candles to form the patterns of the date of the accident "July 23" and the Chinese characters that read "Want the truth."
The high-speed train collision has left 40 people dead and 191 others injured. The families of the victims, as well as the greater public, have repeatedly urged the government to release more information about the cause of the accident and the rescue efforts that followed it.
Premier Wen Jiabao promised a thorough, open and transparent probe into the accident when he met reporters at the train crash site on Thursday.
He urged the Ministry of Railways, which has been under fire, to give an "honest answer" to the people regarding its hasty ways in the aftermath of the crash.
The amount of compensation that will be paid to relatives of the victims of last Saturday's fatal train collision has been nearly doubled to 915,000 yuan (143,000 U.S. dollars) per deceased family member, sources with the local rescue command center said Friday.