Agence France Presse
Beijing, January 29:
Former Chinese party chief Zhao Ziyang was cremated in a tightly controlled funeral today as Beijing signalled it had no intention of changing its stance on the reformist leader purged for opposing the 1989 Tiananmen massacre.
â€œComrade Zhao Ziyang, who passed away on January 17 at the age of 85, was cremated at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery in western Beijing this morning,â€ the Xinhua news agency said.
The cremation followed a nearly three-hour funeral attended by an estimated 2,000 people, with hundreds of plainclothes police and government workers keeping a tight watch on proceedings.Shortly afterwards, China indicated it had no plans to change its assessment of Zhao, who was under house arrest for 15 years for sympathising with the pro-democracy movement, later crushed in a military crackdown.
â€œDuring the early period of reform and opening, Comrade Zhao Ziyang made useful contributions towards the party and the people,â€ Xinhua said. But it reiterated: â€œIn the political turbulence during the Spring and Summer of 1989, comrade Zhao Ziyang made a grave mistake.â€ The funeral was entirely controlled by the government, said witnesses.