Glowing tributes for Xu Simin

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2007, 12:00am

A family member and a leading mainland official in Hong Kong yesterday paid funeral tributes to veteran Beijing loyalist Xu Simin for his patriotism and life's writings.

Xu, 93, a former Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Standing Committee member, died of organ failure caused by pneumonia in Queen Mary Hospital on September 9.

Two Chinese couplet scrolls hung beside Xu's portrait in the Hong Kong Funeral Home bearing the words: 'Use his pen of righteousness, pen his love to the motherland and Hong Kong'. They were written by former president Jiang Zemin when The Mirror, a monthly magazine, co-founded by Xu in 1977, celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2002.

In his eulogy, director of the central government's liaison office Gao Siren said: '[Xu] used his pen as a weapon to strongly promote the Basic Law, firmly safeguard 'one country, two systems' and ensure Hong Kong's stability and prosperity.

'He was bold and outspoken. He criticised everything that was harmful to the unity, reform and opening of our country, and disadvantageous to Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.'

Mr Gao said Xu never minded about his personal interests and had been a courageous fighter.

Xu's outspoken opinions and sharp criticism of current affairs earned him the nickname Big Cannon Xu.

A delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference since it was founded in 1949, he was one of the longest-serving deputies when he stepped down in 2003.

Mr Gao said that when Xu served as a CPPCC member he had aired his opinions and boldly made sound suggestions to help improve the country's governance.

Xu Shiying, Xu's eldest son, said his father had been patriotic in good times and bad. 'He contributed to the country with his writings ... He would forget the pain he was suffering when he wrote.'

Former chief executive and serving CPPCC vice-chairman Tung Chee-hwa, Mr Gao and Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen were among the pallbearers.

Director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Liao Hui and Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen also paid their last respects in front of Xu's coffin. The service was followed by burial at Tai Pang Wan Cemetery in Shenzhen.