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China Holds Funeral For Ousted Leader Zhao

29 January 2005 -- A funeral was held in Beijing today for Zhao Ziyang, the former Chinese Communist party chief who was ousted from the post in 1989 for sympathizing with pro-democracy supporters in Tiananmen Square.

Reports say the memorial was tightly controlled by authorities, with dissidents and reporters barred from the Babaoshan cemetery, the main burial site for China's revolutionary heroes.

As the funeral was held, Chinese state television broadcast the first official obituary of Zhao, who died on 17 January at the age of 85.

The broadcast accused Zhao of making "serious mistakes" during the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in the spring and summer of 1989, when Zhao visited with demonstrators shortly before the government imposed martial law and crushed the protests, killing hundreds or perhaps thousands of people.

Zhao spent 15 years under house arrest after he was ousted as Communist Party chief.