The former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) general secretary and former premier, Zhao Ziyang, passed away on January 17, 2005, after 16 years of house arrest by the CCP authorities. Public memorial activities have been numerous and widespread, and the authorities have been monitoring and arresting participants to suppress any potential backlash from the public.
On the evening of January 16, Beijing time, an Epoch Times reporter made contact with Wang Zhihua, the husband of Zhao Ziyang's daughter, Wang Yanna (originally named Zhao Lian).
The interview is presented in the original question and answer format to convey the facts, and the family's sentiment more clearly.
The Family Memorial Service, Public Welcomed
Reporter: It was reported that you may hold a memorial service on January 17, the first anniversary of Mr. Zhao Ziyang's death, is that correct?
Wang Zhihua: That is right.
Reporter: What kind of memorial service will it be?
Wang: Just for our family.
Reporter: Is it just for your family or open to the public?
Wang: It is also open to the public. During the past year, father's study room has remained untouched. There have been people visiting on and off during that time to convey their respect.
Reporter: Are all the relatives from out of town coming for the service?
Wang: Yes, they are. Father has relatives arriving today.
Reporter: There is a formal ceremony on January 17, is that right?
Wang: Regarding the ceremony, it is just for our family. For us, his children. We will commemorate it in our own way.
All Kinds of People Came to Mourn, but Mostly Common People
Reporter: On January 6, Li Jinping sent out a notice on the Internet indicating that he would hold a memorial service at his home for your father, and that friends were welcome. As a result, he was arrested on January 8 by the police. Many of Beijing's prominent democratic activists, such as the volunteer worker for AIDS victims, Mr. Hu Jia, and Mr. Qi Chihyong that suffered amputation, due to being beaten during the 64 event, were all put under house arrest on January 9. Are you aware of this news?
Wang: We have heard about that, I am aware of it.
Reporter: How do you regard this?
Wang: I do not know the cause or the reason for the arrests. I don't feel the police have much of an excuse to intervene, because this is merely a family memorial service, I think it would be unreasonable.
Reporter: We have heard that unrelenting surveillance on Futong Hutong (alley) started on New Year's Day, is that so?
Wang: There were people at both ends of the alley, but I think it is less intense compared to last year, when father passed away.
Reporter: Then, up to now, are friends coming to the memorial service?
Wang: Yes, they are.
Reporter: What sectors of society do they come from?
Wang: Various kinds of people; many are not known or familiar to us; they are all common people.
Reporter: On this first anniversary of Mr. Zhao Ziyang's death, is there any message from the current central leader or government officials?
Wang: No, not up to now.
Reporter: Has anyone sent a personal message, expressing anything in private to your family?
The Family Values the Appraisal from the Public More
Reporter: During this first anniversary, has your family requested the authorities to give Mr. Zhao Ziyang a fair appraisal again?
Wang: Last year, we wrote a letter expressing our view. We clearly wrote our wishes, but we have not received any response. Actually, up until now, our view remains the same, nothing has changed.
Reporter: You will continue your effort and persistently hope that the CCP will give Mr. Zhao Ziyang a fair appraisal, is that right?
Wang: We hold out our faith, but the most important appraisal of a person should be done by the common people, the public, which we believe carries much more weight.
Reporter: Overseas people from all walks of life are very concerned about Mr. Zhao Ziyang's legacy, and the voice of appeal to give Mr. Zhao Ziyang a fair appraisal has been loud.
Wang: As his children, we also hope this will be the case. Reporter: For the memorial activities held by the public, as his children, what do you think about those? The CCP officials have not made any public statements. However, overseas media, the common folks, and other just people, have held memorial activities all along, and are also appealing this matter.
Wang: Actually we talked about this a moment ago, that is to value history more, to value more how the public views an individual, how they appraise an individual; this is what we value most.
Therefore, during this past year, including the time before my father passed away, we often felt this kind of public sentiment and recognition of him, we are all very grateful; we all value it very much; we feel this is the most precious.
Time Will Unveil the Truth of History
Reporter: Reasonably, Mr. Zhao Ziyang, once a General Secretary, should be entombed in “Babao Mountain” [Note: This is where the CCP entombs its high ranking officials], but he is at home now.
Wang: At the time, the arrangements regarding his ashes was controversial, there was no consensus, so we brought his ashes home. As to where it will be interred later, it may take time to decide.
Reporter: : This means that his ashes have not been buried, but are still in his study. Wang: That is right, his remains have not been buried or interred.
Reporter: On this anniversary, what would you like to share the most?
Wang: I feel it is difficult to say what I want to say. Of course we miss our father very much. Moreover we feel that in the present situation, we have a lot to consider, a lot of dissatisfaction. We think that as time passes, many matters will reveal the true facts of history. I think so.
This is the thought we have held all this past year, just like what we wrote in the first eulogy and now in the anniversary eulogy, it expresses our thoughts.