China plans benefit show, day of mourning

April 14 earthquake killed 2,000 in remote area

BEIJING -- China's state broadcaster on Tuesday night arranged a charity donation gala concert to benefit victims of an earthquake in a poor mountainous and ethnic Tibetan region of west China's Qinghai province that killed nearly 2,000 people last week.

The gala concert, called "Love Without Boundaries," was set to broadcast from 8 pm Beijing time Tuesday for "about three hours," and was due to star "nearly every celebrity in China," a spokesman for China Central Television, whose signal typically reaches 400 million households, said.

Among the stars rumored to be appearing were Jackie Chan and Jet Li, but producers reached at CCTV declined to confirm the lineup.

China's State Council announced that on Wednesday, a week after the 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck in Qinghai's Yushu county, flags would fly at half mast and all public entertainment -- including online gaming and video, and  all cultural performances, but not specifically indicating cinemas -- would be suspended "to express condolences with the victims," CCTV said.

The CCTV charity event could echo events held in 2008 after an 8.0 earthquake killed as many as 90,000 people in Sichuan province, next door to Qinghai.

Some of the donations toward the Sichuan relief effort stirred controversy among Chinese netizens who accused celebrities such as film star Zhang Ziyi of failing to make good on her promised donations.

For the past five days, CCTV has broadcast regular updates of China's top leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, and thousands of army rescuers, paying visits to Yushu, a poor agrarian Tibetan Buddhist monastery town which sits at 13,000 feet, where nearly all the 100,000, mostly-Tibetan residents now are living in tent cities in sub-freezing temperatures.

In the Macau Special Administrative Region, Wynn Macau announced that it was canceling the opening ceremonies for its Encore at Wynn Macau extension in observance of the day of mourning.
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