Thousands of Chinese, including state leaders and out-of-town farmers, attended in beijing on Monday the funeral of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong's second son Mao Anqing, who died on March 23 at the age of 84.
Chinese President Hu Jintao, former president Jiang Zemin and senior Communist Party and government leaders including Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin and Zeng Qinghong attended the farewell ceremony at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery in western Beijing.
They extended condolences to the family and relatives of Mao Anqing.
Mourners, many dressed in military uniform, queued up quietly outside the memorial hall to pay their last respects to Mao Anqing, the last surviving son of Mao Zedong.
Dozens of foreigners from Russia, Japan, Cuba, Vietnam and Tanzania also attended the memorial service, at which Mao Anqing's wife Shao Hua and other close relatives were present.
Mao Anqing, born in 1923 in central China's Hunan Province, was one of the three sons of Mao Zedong and his former wife Yang Kaihui.
"Mao Anqing didn't have an eminent official position. Neither did he possess great fortune, but he deserves all the respects and we will miss him," said Zhao Fengzhang, a middle-aged man from north China's Hebei Province.
Compared to his elder brother Mao Anying, who was a household name after being killed in 1950 by a bomb in Korea where he served in the volunteer army, Mao Anqing remained largely unknown to many Chinese.
Mao Anqing's mother was killed by a local warlord when he was only seven years old. He and his brothers Anying and Anlong were then secretly transferred to Shanghai. His younger brother Anlong died soon after.
During the five years they lived in Shanghai, Mao Anqing and his brother were homeless and made their living selling newspapers. It's been reported that the Shanghai experience left Mao Anqing with both physical and psychological damage.
In 1936, Mao Anqing and Mao Anying were sent to study in Moscow. In 1947, Mao Anqing returned to China and joined the Communist Party of China (CPC).
He started working in a remote county in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, where he actively participated in land reform.
In July 1949, Mao Anqing returned to Beijing and began working as a Russian translator in the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.
He had translated into Chinese a dozen of works on Marxism and Leninism and many other literary and academic books.
In his lifetime, Mao Anqing and his family have managed to keep a low profile and were rarely seen in public.
In his late years, it was reported that Mao Anqing and his wife had frequently visited some old revolutionary bases and impoverished areas to help poor school dropouts return to school.
"He is a loving father. And a man who says little but does a lot," Mao Anqing's wife Shao Hua was quoted as saying by Monday's Liberation Army Daily.
"Throughout his life, he was dedicated to working for the people and the country... His contributions are unknown to the public. He is a low-profile hero and a really good man," a veteran soldier close to Mao Anqing said.
Many Chinese also showed their respects to Mao Anqing online.
"Thirty years ago, the death of your father threw us into the deep grief. Now we are experiencing the same sorrow," one anonymous netizen wrote in an online forum.
"Many Chinese have transferred their emotional attachment to Mao Zedong to his offspring," said Liu Genqun, who woke at five a.m. to attend Mao Anqing's funeral.
With a bouquet in one hand and a bust of Mao Zedong in another, the 56-year-old farmer in suburban Beijing said he had owned Chairman Mao's bust for more than 40 years.
By 10 o'clock in the morning, more than 5,000 copies of a document titled a brief account of Mao Anqing's life had been distributed at the memorial service.
In the document, Mao Anqing is acclaimed as "an outstanding member of the Communist Party of China, a long-tested and loyal fighter for Communism, an extraordinary translator of Marxist and Leninist works and a renowned researcher on Mao Zedong Thought."