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Chinese Observe Tomb-sweeping Day in Different Ways
Millions of Chinese observed Qingming Day, the traditional tomb-sweeping day, paying tribute to the dead in various forms around the country Saturday.

The Chinese tomb-sweeping day, also known as Qingming Festival, falls on April 5 every year.

In Xi'an and Baoji cities, Shanxi Province, northwest China, tens of thousands of people from home and abroad attended two separate ceremonies to commemorate Yandi and Huangdi, two legendary founders of the Chinese nation.

Large sums have been spent to build statues and other projects in memory of China's forefathers, while senior local officials have attended the annual memorial ceremonies.

Meanwhile, over 30,000 people including many overseas Chinese visited Hongdong County, Shanxi Province, north China, to look for their ancestral roots.

According to history records, the government of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) launched large-scale relocation of people for 18 times from 1368 to 1417.

Each time, before they were resettled, people had to first gather in Hongdong County. Many Chinese believe their ancestors came from the county.

In Shanghai, east China, tens of thousands of people, including many students and outside visitors, paid tribute to martyrs who died in wars against foreign invasions and the Kuomintang regime.

In Chongqing, a southwestern municipality, local people did something different, holding a special memorial service, for the third successive year, to remember those who had donated their bodies for medical research. All the donors' names are to be carved on the memorial stones.

Nowadays, many Chinese, especially young people, show their respects to the dead in new ways, such as planting trees or placing flowers in front of tomb stones instead of burning incense.

Some people paid tribute on-line as many "virtual memorials" have been set up in recent years.

However, some were criticized for using government cars to go for sweeping the tombs of their family members. The media also blamed some businessmen for selling funeral goods such as paper mistresses, cars and cellphones to burn in front of tomb stones.

(eastday.com April 7, 2003)

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