Chinese President Xi Jinping has expressed his condolences for the victims of the Taiwan train crash, as the island’s President Tsai Ing-wen bowed and apologized to the family of victims.
China’s state CCTV issued a report on Xi’s statement in the capacity of general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party at around 2 p.m. on Saturday, where he “mourned for compatriots” killed in the crash. Xi was deeply concerned about the accident that caused heavy casualties, the report said.
Xi sent sincere condolences to the families of the deceased and expressed sympathies to the injured and wished them a speedy recovery, it said.
At least 51 people died and 188 were injured in the accident, when an express train carrying hundreds of passengers at the start of a long-weekend break derailed in a tunnel on Friday morning, after smashing into a truck.
Of the 51 deaths, 47 have been identified, including an American and two French people. The injured included two Japanese, one mainland Chinese and one Australian. There were 41 people still hospitalized as of 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Following Xi’s statement, Chinese internet users quickly changed their tune from taunting the dead, saying they would celebrate if those who died supported Taiwan independence, to hoping for the speedy recovery of injured people and praising Xi’s statement.
Taiwanese presidential office spokesperson Chang Tun-han said he had noticed Xi’s statement, adding that Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen expressed her gratitude to care and concerns from all sides.
Tsai visited the injured at a hospital in Hualien on Saturday, including a father who lost a six-year-old daughter, with another nine-year-old daughter fighting for her life.
Tsai then visited a funeral home with officials, as they bowed and apologized to family members of victims.
She thanked the support and care from the international community in a speech, and said that the hospital would give the best care to those injured.
More than 600 foreign officials, representatives of international bodies and friends of Taiwan from 80 countries have expressed their condolences as of Saturday noon, according to Taiwan’s foreign ministry.
Those injured included one mainland Chinese student, who has been discharged from the hospital, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said.
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