Page last updated at 23:47 GMT, Tuesday, 11 May 2010 00:47 UK

China quake bereaved reach grim milestone

Rescue worker in the town of Beichuan, 20/05/2008
Parts of Sichuan were razed by the earthquake

Relatives of many victims of the quake in China's Sichuan province are now able to start registering loved ones as dead, two years after the disaster.

Some 18,000 people remain officially designated as "missing" from the quake, which killed a further 69,000.

Chinese law says families must wait two years after an accident before starting to register missing relatives as dead.

Some people are still angry because many of the dead were children, killed when their schools collapsed.

According to officials, some 5,335 schoolchildren were killed, leading to speculation that school buildings were poorly constructed.

No public inquiry has been held, despite repeated demands from bereaved parents and activists.

And critics say Beijing has sought to silence public criticism on the issue.

Despite this, prominent artist Ai Weiwei has said he intends to use the second anniversary of the quake to launch a protest.

He has been collecting the names of all the children who died, and intends to have them read out.

The BBC's Michael Bristow in Beijing says the process to register the dead from the quake takes a year.

But he says it is not clear how many will choose to complete the legal formalities.

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