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November 17, 2010

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Family and friends grieve for the dead

FAMILY members and friends of those who died in Monday's fire went to the ruined apartment building in Jiang'an District yesterday evening.

They cried and burned paper offerings to mourn the dead.

Nearly 100 people passed through the cordoned-off area to mourn loved ones.

The first group arrived at the building on Jiaozhou Road about 6pm. Some relatives were so distraught that they knelt down on the ground and started weeping.

As the burnt tower block was sealed off for safety reasons, residents who lived in the building were not allowed to enter their apartments and set up mourning halls, a Chinese tradition.

Some chose to set mourning halls in hotel rooms, where they have been put up temporarily, to allow relatives and friends to say farewell to the dead.

Meanwhile, people from around the city also started turning up at the scene to pay their respects to the deceased. Many dropped off flowers.

The first flower presenter, a middle-aged woman with a bouquet of white chrysanthemums, came at about 10:30am.

"May the deceased rest in peace and the living stay strong," read the lament on the bouquet.

As of last night, hundreds of bouquets and baskets of flowers were placed around the burnt apartment building.

The mourners included some foreigners.

Three Russians who are students at Donghua University placed three bunches of lilies at the gateway of the building.

"We feel sorry for those people," said one of the students, who identified herself as Tania.

Fang Zheng, a local netizen who tried to organize a flower presentation for mourners on the Internet yesterday, had to cancel it because of the crowds on the scene.

"It was so crowded when I came," Fang told Shanghai Daily yesterday. "So I just canceled it later on my micro blog on"

The online community also expressed sympathy for the victims.

On Sina's Twitter-like micro blog, the number of the posts about the blaze once reached 213,000 last night, ranking first among the website's hot topics.


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