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Reassessment of Zhao Ziyang Continues

Posted January. 25, 2005 00:49,   


The agreement between the bereaved family and Chinese authorities on the funeral schedule for the former Chinese Communist Party Chief Zhao Ziyang, has not been concluded eight days after his death.

A source from Beijing said on January 24 that “the bereaved family not only asked to re-assess Zhao Ziyang through a funeral oration, but also additionally asked not to put restrictions on the scope of mourners’ participation in a funeral ceremony at Beijing`s Babaoshan Cemetery for revolutionaries.

However, the funeral schedule has not been arranged because the Chinese government did not accept this. Some newspapers from Hong Kong and Taiwan reported that the funeral will be held around January 25, but a source added that “at present, nothing has been decided yet.”

It is known that the bereaved family asked to consult a doctor to find out Zhao Ziyang`s exact cause of death, but that the Chinese authorities did not permit it. The source said that “even though he died of a chronic disease, the bereaved family wants to listen to a doctor’s accurate opinion.”

The source also added that “Zhao Ziyang’s wife currently does not know of her husband’s death. The bereaved family didn’t inform her of this, considering that she will be shocked.”

On January 24, Chinese authorities again permitted common people to make a condolence visit to Zhao Ziyang’s coffin room in his home, which was blocked from access on January 21.

Meanwhile, the Sing Pao Daily News in Hong Kong reported that Chinese authorities are trying to announce an article titled “the life of Zhao Ziyang” through the Xinhua News Agency instead of delivering a funeral oration at a funeral ceremony, but there has been conflict over the article’s content between the Chinese authorities and the bereaved family.

The Chinese authorities insisted on including the fact that Mr. Zhao Ziyang made a political mistake in his handling of the 1989 Tiananmen protests, but the bereaved family opposed this, asking the government to include the fact that Zhao Ziyang had been placed under house arrest since 1989.

In addition, the Ming Pao Daily in Hong Kong reported that senior statesmen, including Wanli and Qiao Shi, the former chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, and Tian Jiyun, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People`s Congress, demanded that the Party leadership hold the funeral service fairly in accordance with Zhao Ziyang’s duties during his life.

However, according to other news agencies, it has been known that Chinese president Hu Jin Tao, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee Wu Bangguo, and premier Wen Jiabao will send wreaths to the funeral ceremony without attending, and only members of the party’s political bureau will attend the funeral ceremony.

Yoo-Seong Hwang yshwang@donga.com