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Foreign Countries Offer Quake Relief Funds to China

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Japan, the Republic of Korea, France, the United States and Norway have offered funds and donations totaling 3.2 million U.S. dollars to aid quake relief work in northwest China, China's Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday.

"We welcome and sincerely appreciate the international community's concern and support," ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular press conference.

By Tuesday, more than 150 countries and international and regional organizations had extended sympathy to the Chinese government and people after a 7.1-magnitude quake struck the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu in northwest China's Qinghai Province early Wednesday, killing at least 2,046 people.

Some countries and organizations expressed their willingness to offer donations to the quake-hit area, Jiang said.

The Chinese government and people nationwide were sparing no effort in rescue and relief work, and overseas Chinese, including Tibetan compatriots, had also expressed concern, Jiang said.

A sufficient number of rescuers were working in the area, relief materials were continuously en route to the quake zone, and survivors were receiving appropriate treatment, she said.

Most of the Yushu population are ethnic Tibetans and the Dalai Lama had expressed his wish to visit the quake-hit area to comfort victims.

In response to a question concerning the Dalai Lama at the press conference, Jiang said the government fully respected local religious beliefs and customs, and was offering counseling.

Prayer ceremonies for the quake-affected people were being held, she said.

The 11th Panchen Lama hosted a prayer ritual for the victims on Tuesday. Prayers were chanted in the Xihuang Temple in downtown Beijing to guide the souls of those who died in the earthquake to heaven.

(Xinhua News Agency April 20, 2010)

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