Newspapers commemorate the Zhouqu landslide


Lanzhou Morning Post, August 16, 2010

Media across China went black and white yesterday to mark a national day of mourning for the victims of the landslides and flooding in Zhouqu, Gansu Province. Disaster struck on Sunday, August 8, and heavy rains continued throughout the week.

The Lanzhou Morning Post, a commercial newspaper from the provincial capital, commemorated the 1,248 victims with a headline reading “Zhouqu is unbowed” (舟曲不屈), a declaration inspired by the homophony of qu 曲 in the county’s name and qu 屈 meaning “surrender.” Many newspapers, both yesterday and today, used this line.

Other newspapers discovered different forms of wordplay:

As an individual word, zhou (舟) means “boat.” Shanxi Evening News referenced this in its headline, a classical expression: “Weathering storms in the same boat” (风雨同舟). The Wuhan Morning Post played on both syllables of Zhouqu’s name: “An unyielding boat” (不屈之舟).

The day of mourning was observed nation-wide, but like the Shanxi Evening News, many newspapers ran photos of the national flag flying half-staff in Tiananmen Square. A minority of papers showed images of the ceremony at the scene of the disaster:

State leaders also observed the day of mourning:

The People’s Daily had to make up for its front page on the actual day of mourning, which accented its somber black-and-white layout with a color photo of a smiling Hu Jintao.

Lastly, there’s the Oriental Guardian, which made the bizarre decision to appropriate the cover illustration from Jimmy Liao’s When the Moon Forgot (月亮忘记了) for its front page:


When the Moon Forgot (月亮忘记了) by Jimmy Liao (幾米)
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