H K mourns democracy beacon

Hong Kong, Jan 30 (Kyodo) Hong Kong honoured the death ofprominent democracy advocate Szeto Wah in a funeral attendedby Chief Executive Donald Tsang, diplomats and thousands ofmourners. Szeto died on Jan 2 at the age of 79.

Six long bell chimes followed by four short ones wererung at a Christian church as friends and political supportersbid their final farewell to the life-long democrat andeducator, who had openly opposed Beijing''s repressive policiesand called for redress over the bloody 1989 Tiananmen Squareprotests.

Organisers of the funeral said the bells were tolled sixlong times and four short times in memory of the victims whodied during the Tiananmen bloodshed on June 4, 1989.

Criticised for kowtowing to Beijing, the Hong Konggovernment barred two prominent Chinese dissidents, Wang Danand Wu''er Kaixi, from entering the city to mourn for Szeto,who helped Wu''er and hundreds of others flee China after thebloody crackdown.

"It is regrettable that Wang Dan was not allowed tocome," said Lui Jinghua, an exiled Tiananmen protester whoflew in from the United States for the funeral.

"It is unwise if Beijing had pressured the Hong Kongleader into making that decision."

Tsang, who attended the funeral together with six seniorgovernment officials, was jeered by some bystanders when theyleft the service.

Representatives from the education sector and variouspolitical parties, as well as diplomats from 16 countries,also attended the funeral.

Some of the thousands of mourners said they will carry onSzeto''s mission to seek redress for the Tiananmen killings.

Szeto set up the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of thePatriotic Democratic Movement in China and held annualmemorials for victims of Tiananmen. (Kyodo)

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