Page last updated at 04:58 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 05:58 UK

China launches martyrs web link

Hong Kong grave sweeping day 2006
Chinese outside the mainland have long swept the tombs of their ancestors

China has launched a website to encourage people to pay their respects to fallen revolutionary heroes online, the state news agency Xinhua has said.

The link is to encourage people to show respect to those who died in the communist revolution, it said.

The new web link comes ahead of the annual Qingming Festival when Chinese traditionally honour their ancestors.

Also known as Chingming, or tomb-sweeping Day, this falls on 4 April this year.

The online memorial was initiated by the Central Civilisation Office of the Communist Party of China on 26 March and will remain "live" until 14 April.

Xinhua said that the website had received about 500,000 visits from Internet users, 60,000 of whom posted comments, quoting sources with the office of civilisation.

"The national martyrs sacrificed their lives for our happy life," Chen Binpeng, a primary student in Nanchang, in east China's Jiangxi Province, was quoted as saying.

Wang Guang, a student in the Henan Industrial School, in central China's Henan Province, was quoted as saying he was proud of the martyrs and would carry on their spirit.

The government only recently made tomb-sweeping day a national holiday, as it was once among many folk customs condemned by the Communists as old-fashioned and feudalistic.

It has been enthusiastically marked in Hong Kong and Taiwan regardless.

On the mainland, the communist party has begun reviving some old practices as a way to inject traditional values into a rapidly changing social order.

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