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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 January, 2005, 12:26 GMT
Date set for Zhao Ziyang funeral
Protestors, holding a portrait of former Chinese Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang and flower bouquets, stand before the Chinese embassy in Tokyo 21 January 2005.
Chinese communities abroad can mourn Zhao's death more openly
The funeral of purged Chinese Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang is to be held on Saturday, it has been announced.

Zhao died more than a week ago, but the ceremony has been delayed by wrangling between his family and the government over how he should be remembered.

Zhao was ousted for opposing the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, and spent his last 15 years under house arrest.

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

The dilemma for the authorities has been what type of funeral to give a leader still officially in disgrace, the BBC's Louisa Lim reports from Beijing.

The authorities have now said a low-key ceremony will be held on Saturday, rather than a state funeral.

According to our correspondent, sources close to Zhao's family said they had disagreed with Beijing over the official assessment of his life - a document normally read out at any memorial service.

A man tries to stop Chinese tanks in 1989
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

The government reportedly wants to say he made grave mistakes in his handling of the Tiananmen protests, while his family refuses to admit he did anything wrong.

It is not yet clear whether an official assessment of his legacy will be read out at all.

The ceremony will be attended by some members of the public, but only a limited number of people who have registered ahead of time will be able to go, our correspondent adds.

She says that all these precautions are a sign of the official nervousness surrounding the death of the ousted leader.

Newspapers have carried little coverage of Zhao's death, while state television and radio have ignored it altogether.

The government appears uneasy about any public sympathy for him.

There has been a heavy security presence around Zhao's house, where mourners have been paying respects, since his death last Monday.

Several mourners are reported to have been beaten by police, including a man from Henan province, Wang Shiyuan, whose face was left covered with blood after he was challenged for wearing a white paper flower - a traditional Chinese symbol of mourning.

One witness told the French news agency AFP that an elderly women from Shandong province was beaten until she could not move.

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


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