Deng's Successor Bids Tearful Farewell Jiang Delivers Eulogy: `The Chinese People Love Comrade Deng Xiaoping'

Article excerpt

China bade farewell today to one-time paramount leader Deng Xiaoping as 10,000 of the nation's political elite gathered in Beijing's Great Hall of the People.

Deng's ashes sat in a casket amid white flowers and evergreens and cloaked with China's red flag. A portrait of the late leader looked down on the gathering. The national anthem played. Jiang Zemin, Deng's handpicked successor, stood before the gathering and delivered a 50-minute eulogy.

"Today, we . . . hold a memorial meeting and mourn for our beloved Comrade Deng Xiaoping with profound grief," said Jiang, wiping his eyes. "The Chinese people love Comrade Deng Xiaoping, thank Comrade Deng Xiaoping, mourn for Comrade Deng Xiaoping and cherish the memory of Comrade Deng Xiaoping because he devoted his lifelong energies to the Chinese people, performed immortal feats for the independence and liberation of the Chinese nation," Jiang said. After Jiang's speech, Premier Li Peng led the gathering in bowing three times, disobeying Deng's wishes that there be no such traditional shows of reverence. The 10,000 mourners, in dark suits and military uniforms with white flowers pinned to their lapels, stood with heads bowed. At the ceremony's conclusion, a band played a brief tribute and then sw itched to a funeral dirge as Jiang and other top leaders filed out of the hall, shaking hands with Deng's family as they left. After the memorial, Deng's ashes were to be scattered at sea, at his family's request. Police sealed off Tiananmen Square, which was turned into a parking lot for mourners' vehicles and a parade ground for soldiers guarding the hall. Crowds were kept back, and police quickly suppressed any attempts at spontaneous mourning, alert for any sign of emotion that could trigger un rest. The 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations began with unplanned outbursts after the death of ousted Communist Party head Hu Yaobang. …