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Quake-leveled county reopened to mourners
Updated: 2009-05-11 16:03

The quake-devastated Beichuan county seat in southwest China's Sichuan Province reopened Sunday to residents to mourn the dead ahead of the first anniversary of the disaster.

Some 21,000 people, or two-thirds of the county seat's population, were dead or missing in the 8.0-magnitude earthquake on May 12 last year, making the county the worst hit in the quake.

The county will be open for four days till Wednesday. Mourners brought flowers, incense and candles and set off firecrackers in the ruins of former bus stations, county government buildings and homes. The police distributed bottled water to the crowd for free.

The town has been closed since May 20 last year. It reopened to former residents during Qingming, or tomb-sweeping day, in April. A new county seat will be built 23 km from the former one. The new town is expected to have 58,000 residents in 2010 and 110,000 in 2020.