Beijing's medical workers joined the tomb-sweeping crowd on Wednesday to honor nine of their colleagues who died while fighting the SARS epidemic in 2003.
In the city's first public memorial of its SARS heroes, representatives from more than 20 Beijing hospitals paid tribute to an altar erected in their names at the Party school of Beijing Health Bureau, on the northwestern outskirts of the capital city.
The altar inscribed with the names of the nine heroes was set up there last June to honor the dead and inspire their colleagues.
The nine heroes -- doctors and nurses from nine hospitals -- died in the spring of 2003 after they contracted the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, while trying to save their patients.
SARS first broke out in the southern Guangdong Province in November 2002 and spread to 24 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities on the Chinese mainland.
The outbreak caused alarm around the world, with cases reported in 32 countries and regions. The disease claimed more than 700 lives worldwide, including at least 349 on the Chinese mainland.
(Xinhua News Agency April 5, 2007)