Beijing, Nov 2 (EFE).- Beijing, woke up Thursday with the flags of several buildings and emblematic places, such as Tiananmen Square, at half-mast to commemorate the funeral day of late Premier Li Keqiang’s, who died Friday of a heart attack.
The square and the Foreign Affairs Ministry headquarters, both in Beijing, are just some of the official buildings in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, that honored the politician with flags flying at half-mast amid a gray sky in the background from the pollution plaguing the city these days.
The protocol for the funeral of Li, whose remains were transferred to Beijing on the same day of his death, is comparable to that followed after the death in 2019 of Li Peng, also a former premier.
In China’s hierarchical system of formalities, only the highest-ranking leaders, such as former President Jiang Zemin, who received a state funeral in December, are entitled to top honors.
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered the eulogy during Jiang’s official commemoration.
The hashtag on Chinese microblogging site Weibo about Li’s funeral surpassed 220 million views Thursday within minutes of its publication, becoming a trend on the platform. However, the comments section of some publications, especially those without government ties, remained invisible after having been subjected to a “filter” or “selection” according to the social network.
The China Digital Times site, founded at the American University of Berkeley, leaked last week alleged instructions issued to a Chinese media outlet by authorities.
“Comment sections must be managed well. Pay attention to ‘too effusive’ comments” about Li, who competed with Xi for the country’s leader position until 2012 and was considered more liberal than the current president.
The deaths of former leaders of the country are often moments of tension for the Chinese state apparatus, since, in the past, the vigils and mourning of various officials sometimes served as a catalyst for discontent, crystallizing into protests.
Li led the Chinese executive between 2013 and 2023, a period in which he remained in Xi’s shadow.
When he became premier, Li, who belonged to the most liberal wing of the establishment, was expected to give a push to China’s economic opening and reform, but his work and ability to maneuver were progressively limited and increasingly overshadowed by Xi’s growing power. EFE