Date
13 December 2017
Zhao Ziyang, shown here talking with student protesters in Beijing in 1989, has yet to be given proper burial a decade after his death. Photo: Internet
Zhao Ziyang, shown here talking with student protesters in Beijing in 1989, has yet to be given proper burial a decade after his death. Photo: Internet

Burial unlikely for Zhao Ziyang on 10th death anniversary

Almost a decade after he died on Jan. 17, 2005, former Chinese Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang has yet to be given proper burial, and it is unlikely that there will be one on his 10th death anniversary.

His cremated remains are kept in an urn at his home in Beijing, along with those of his wife who died in 2013.

Zhao Erjun, his second son, told Ming Pao Daily that the family hopes to deal with the remains on their own, but the Communist Party Central Committee’s General Office doesn’t agree with the idea.

While authorities don’t have a plan of their own, they are preventing the family from making any move, saying it will take some time to study the issue.

New officials are now handling the matter after Ling Jihua was removed as head of the general office on corruption charges.

As the country’s former top leader, Zhao was supposed to have been buried at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery in Beijing, the main resting place for the country’s revolutionary heroes and top government officials.

However, Zhao, who had been purged in the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, had not been given that honor. 

There were reports that top cadres had suggested that he be buried in a section of the cemetery reserved for middle-level officials, but his family rejected the proposal as it doesn’t match his status as a former leader.

His son said the family will not hold any formal activities to mark his death anniversary on Jan. 17, but will welcome people paying tribute to the former leader.

Zhao, who was party chief from 1987 to 1989, was critical of Maoist policies and instrumental in implementing free-market reforms.

His economic reform policies and sympathies for student demonstrators during the 1989 protests placed him at odds with some members of the party leadership.

He was subsequently purged and effectively placed under house arrest for the next 15 years.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China plans to hold a series of activitities this week until Jan. 17 in remembrance of the former leader, including an exhibition at the June 4th Museum in Tsim Sha Tsui.

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TL/AC/CG

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