People in Shanghai Grieve Over Those Who Perished in a Fire

By Xu Shuiliang
Extracted, edited and translated by ChinaAid
November 24, 2010

Internet users throughout China show their support to the people of Shanghai, shown here in partial posts compiled from net digests.

Today, approximately 200,000 residents of Shanghai are mourning the victims of a fatal blaze that left 58 people dead. Some people compare this to popular movements, such as the April 5 Movement in 1976. 

In fact, the history of China has advanced a lot since then. At that time, they were mourning the death of a Communist leader. Now, they have gathered to grieve over the death of ordinary people.

In 1976, the people were basically deceived by an illusion. Now, the people are fighting for their own true rights. Along with all people of China, we give our full support to the people of Shanghai.

The following is a small portion of supportive posts we have collected on the Internet from people who express their support for the people of Shanghai.
—Editor of net digests,  November 21, 2010

In this blaze, the people of Shanghai command deep respect from people throughout the rest of China.
I begin to admire the people of Shanghai because when so many disasters occurred in Shanxi, Henan and other places, people in those provinces have tolerated and accepted their fate in all numbness.
There was no mourning by the people out of their own initiative. Even the relatives of miners who perished in the accidents have accepted the reality in resignation and indifference.
In sharp contrast, only the people of Shanghai — the people residing in this Tier 1 metropolis — can express their respect for human life. They would never abandon or give up their respect for life.
Some Twitter users have complained about inequality in this society.  Who can blame them?  To enjoy your own rights, you have to fight for them!
“Shanghailanders” used to be a people with a high sense of superiority. Now, they have finally realized that they and the welder whom they used to look down upon share the same fate.  Shanghailanders, arise!
About 200,000 people presented bouquets of flowers to the dead. The symphony orchestra began to play “The World is Full of Love.” Now, they are beginning to play a funeral march and shouts of protest fill the air.
The police have blocked all the roads and are trying violently to stop the orchestra. They repeatedly clear the flowers. Angry residents delivered speeches in the dialect of Shanghai and history is making progress in small steps.
“They are afraid of old people’s memories. They are afraid of young people’s thoughts and ideals. They are afraid of funerals and the fresh flowers on the graves.” (Lyrics from “100%” by the Czech protest band “Plastic People of the Universe.”)
I went to the site this afternoon. Many people went there out of their own initiative, most of them being people from Shanghai. There were quite a lot of foreigners among them.
Some young girls presented white chrysanthemums to the dead to express their condolences. Some people had tears in their eyes and some cried out. Other people formed smaller groups in the street and discussed things.
There were police officers everywhere. Roads were blocked. Outlets for entry and exit were very small and the foot traffic was effectively controlled.
I stayed only for a while in front of the charred building and the photos of the dead. Thousands of feelings welled up inside of me.
You have to fight for the respect of your own life and its embodiment. However, what the people in Shanghai are fighting for is respect for their own lives. It has nothing to do with the innocent dead in Shanxi, Henan, Hebei provinces.
Arise, you workers, from your slumbers!
Arise, you prisoners who lack!
I have a sobering idea: Do all the family members or their relatives have to die or be killed innocently before the authorities can become sympathetic?
Things are changing: At about 10:30 p.m., Xinhua News Agency carried a report commenting on the public condolences expressed by the people of Shanghai.
For a time, pieces of such news came out frequently one by one.  The officials reproduced  much of the news on  It is evident that this was done with the inspiration from the officials high in the ranks…
Salute to the people of Shanghai!
Silent protest.
Condolences, apologies and accountability should all be an integral part of our actions.  Nothing is indispensable.
Tears cover my whole face. Today, I would like to pronounce that “I am a Shanghailander!”
Shanghai is the most civilized place in China.
In China, civilization means “values of the West.” This is a fact.
Good for the people of Shanghai! There cannot be such a spontaneous mass event in any other parts of China except for Shanghai.
The residents of Shanghai have a sense of humanity and an awareness of their rights.  Salute to you!
Last compiled: 12:31:20 November 21, 2010

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