4 Chinese among 362 haj stampede fatalities
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-01-14 05:20
Four Chinese Muslim pilgrims were killed and four others were slightly
injured in a haj stampede in Saudi Arabia that claimed lives of 362 people on
All the injured have been discharged from hospital, said Chang Yi, head of
China's Consulate-General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia's largest port city.
He told China Daily on Friday that two Chinese were still missing.
President Hu Jintao sent a message of condolence on Friday to Saudi King
Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz over the heavy casualties the stampede caused in the
holy city of Mecca.
In the message, Hu, on behalf of the Chinese Government and people, offered
sincere sympathies to the king, the Saudi Government and its people.
The stampede occurred during a stoning ritual near Mecca. Nearly 300 people
were also injured, according to initial statistics of Saudi health agencies.
After learning of Chinese citizens killed and injured in the stampede, Hu
instructed relevant Chinese departments as well as the Chinese embassy and
consulate in Saudi Arabia to take measures to help the injured Chinese citizens
and properly handle the aftermath.
The four Chinese victims include three men, aged 59 to 63, and one woman,
aged 50. They were all from Northwest China's Qinghai Province, where 1,200
Muslims were on their pilgrimage.
According to Chang, more than 7,000 Chinese pilgrims from all over the
country were taking part in the annual haj, a record high.
Sources with the religious council in Qinghai Province told China Daily that
they had been informed of the tragedy and were helping with the aftermath.
The Chinese diplomatic mission and Islamic religious associations are working
with the Saudi Government to handle the funerals.
According to Islamic tradition, the victims will be buried locally. "It is a
Muslim's greatest wish to be buried in the sacred place of Mecca," Chang said.
He said the Chinese pilgrims would start to go back home on Saturday.