Xi, other top Beijing officials, pay tributes at Li Peng funeral

July 30, 2019 13:48
Chinese President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, former president Jiang Zemin, and others, were shown on national television at the funeral of former premier Li Peng. Photos: CGTN/screenshots

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday paid his final respects to former Chinese premier Li Peng at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery in Beijing before Li's body was laid to rest there.

Besides Xi, other leaders including Premier Li Keqiang and Vice President Wang Qishan, as well as former president Jiang Zemin, also attended Li's funeral, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

They stood in silent tribute and bowed three times in front of the former premier's body and also extended their condolences to Li's family.

Former Chinese top leader Hu Jintao, who was not in Beijing, sent a wreath to express his condolences.

Li, died at the age of 90 in Beijing on July 22 from an unspecified illness, more than three decades after his government authorized a bloody suppression of student-led pro-democracy protests in the early hours of June 4, 1989.

The role Li played in the Tiananmen crackdown had prompted many Chinese activists to call him the "Butcher of Beijing".

However, he is still considered by Beijing as a person who had made great contributions to the country.

In an obituary issued by the central authorities, Li was extolled as "an excellent Party member, a time-tested and loyal Communist soldier, and an outstanding proletarian revolutionary, statesman, and leader of the Party and the State".

The official Xinhua news agency says in its obituary that Li "took decisive measures to stop the unrest and quell counter-revolutionary violence" during the Tiananmen protests. It also praised him for building a "clean and honest government," adding: "Comrade Li Peng is immortal."

To mourn his death, the national flag was flown at half-staff in many places in China, including Tiananmen Square, the Great Hall of the People, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, seats of provincial-level committees of the Communist Party and provincial-level governments, seaports, airports and Chinese embassies and consulates.

Flags were also flown at half-staff in the Chinese special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. 

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A file picture shows Li Peng inspecting a military honour guard in Pakistan in 1999. Photo: Reuters