China to pause Tuesday in memory of Deng
10,000 to gather in Great Hall of the People
February 20, 1997
Web posted at: 10:23 a.m. EST (1523 GMT)
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BEIJING (CNN) -- As 10,000 Chinese dignitaries gather in the Great Hall of the People next Tuesday to bid farewell to Deng Xiaoping, sirens and factory whistles will sound a note of national mourning.
An official funeral committee has announced memorial plans for Deng, the paramount Chinese leader who died Wednesday night of respiratory failure at age 92. Six days of mourning will precede the funeral for the man who opened China to the world during the past two decades.
The high-level committee said Deng's funeral will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, when sirens will sound for three minutes and all of China will come to a halt to mourn its leader.
Deng has donated parts of his body, including his corneas, to
medicine, and his body will be cremated, with his ashes scattered at sea, the committee said Thursday.
Deng's widow, Zhuo Lin, and his five children have asked the
committee to keep mourning activities simple in keeping with
the veteran revolutionary's wishes.
In a letter to committee chairman and Communist Party head Jiang Zemin, which was carried by state-run media, the family said there should be no solemn bowing before his corpse, as is usual.
"Comrade Xiaoping has devoted his entire life to the
motherland and the people without any reservation. We hope that the last thing we will do for Comrade Xiaoping
... will be to demonstrate our grief in a simple and
dignified way," the family's statement said.
The funeral committee has invited 10,000 members of the
Communist Party, government, military and other influential
groups to attend Tuesday's ceremony inside Beijing's mammoth
Great Hall of the People, state-run media reported.
"As the memorial service is held, at 10 a.m. (0200 GMT) sharp, sirens on all trains, boats, military vessels, factories and the like will sound for three minutes of mourning," the committee's order said.
The service will be broadcast live and party branches
throughout China must make arrangements so that all Chinese
will be able to see or hear it.
No international journalists will be allowed to cover the ceremony and no dignitaries from other countries will be invited to attend. Instead, Chinese embassies are being asked to prepare to receive condolences.
Deng always eschewed the cult of personality that surrounded
his predecessor, Mao Tse-tung, and had said he wanted a simple memorial ceremony.
On the day of the ceremony, China's bright red flag emblazoned with five gold stars would be flown at half-staff at all party, government, and military offices, at air and sea ports, at enterprises, institutions, and schools, and at China's embassies around the world, the committee said.
Deng's final journey would differ sharply from that of Mao,
whose preserved body lies encased in a glass sarcophagus in a
mausoleum in Tiananmen Square.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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