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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 January, 2005, 11:18 GMT
Zhao family press for funeral
Wang Yannan, daughter of Zhao Ziyang, centre, talks to an unidentified man near another relative in the mourning hall, 19/01/2005
Zhao's family says the details are still not worked out
The family of purged Chinese Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang has said it wants to hold his funeral this weekend.

But his relatives and the government are reportedly still at odds over the details.

Zhao died last week, 15 years after he was put under house arrest for opposing the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown against pro-democracy protesters.

The government has played down news of his death for fear of sparking fresh reformist protests.

"As a family we think Saturday is OK," a daughter-in-law, Margaret Ren, told the French news agency AFP.

"It's a sort of mutual agreement... Now it's in discussion. We're hoping that it can be decided soon," she said.

Zhao's family and the Beijing leadership are reportedly in disagreement over the scale of the ceremony, and whether his remains should rest with other dead state leaders in Babaoshan Cemetery.

15 April: Reformist leader Hu Yaobang dies
22 April: Hu's memorial service. Thousands call for faster reforms
13 May: Students begin hunger strike as power struggle grips Communist Party
15 May: Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev visits China
19 May: Zhao makes tearful appeal to students in Tiananmen Square to leave
20 May: Martial law declared in Beijing
3-4 June: Security forces clear the square, killing hundreds

Zhao's family are under pressure not to release details of his funeral plans, having been told they were "state and Party secrets", Frank Lu, a Hong Kong-based activist said.

Government officials have confirmed that Zhao's funeral would reflect his membership of the Party, but have signalled that the ceremony would be far more low-key than the lavish events held in the past for top Communist Party officials.

But retired senior party members, including former National People's Congress chairmen Wan Li and Qiao Shi, have called on the Party to hold a ceremony commensurate with Zhao Ziyang's former positions, Di Sha, the wife of a former Party paper editor, told Hong Kong newspapers.

Zhao, who as Party chief oversaw China's bold economic reforms, was removed from power after he opposed using military force against the protesters.

He was never again seen in public after 19 May 1989, when he went to the square and made a tearful appeal for demonstrators to leave.


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