Memorial Ceremonies Mark 15th Year since Sichuan Earthquake that Left 87,000 Dead or Missing

Ichiro Ohara / The Yomiuri Shimbun
A memorial ceremony is held Friday in front of a collapsed junior high school building in Yingxiu in Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture.

CHENGDU, China — Memorial services were held around Sichuan Province on Friday to mark the 15th anniversary of a powerful earthquake that left about 87,000 people dead or missing in the region of southwest China.

On Friday morning, bereaved families and others visited a cemetery in Dujiangyan, near the city of Chengdu, for students who died in the collapse of elementary and junior high school buildings.

A woman clasped her hands in prayer in front of the gravestone of a young girl, before laying down an offering of yellow and white chrysanthemums.

There are lingering suspicions that slipshod construction work involving local authorities led to the collapse of school buildings. Police vehicles were deployed around the cemetery on the alert for protesters.

In Yingxiu, Wenchuan County, the epicenter of the earthquake, a memorial service was held in front of a collapsed junior high school building that has been preserved as a historical site.