Musician rests at home at last
The ashes of celebrated musician Ma Sicong and his wife were finally buried on the mainland yesterday, 40 years after they left the country of their birth.
In a simple, one-hour ceremony Ma Rulong, the musician's son, and some of his relatives buried the ashes in Jufang Garden at the foot of Guangzhou's Baiyun Mountain.
'Finally I accomplished my parents' last wish of coming back to their motherland,' Mr Ma said.
Guangdong-born Ma Sicong died in 1987 aged 76, two decades after he and his family fled the mainland and the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution.
The musician's return home was pursued by some of his friends and supported by the central government.
Niece Ma Zhiyong said Premier Wen Jiabao had received a letter from Ma Rulong about repatriating the ashes and had personally asked the Ministry of Culture to handle the return issues last year.
Mr Ma said his parents had been thinking about returning home since 1985, when mainland authorities repealed accusations that they were traitors. But they thought it would be better to make the trip at a 'more stable time'.
Ma Sicong was feted as a violinist and a composer, creating a spectrum of works incorporating folk tunes and elements.
He was appointed the first dean of the Central Conservatory of Music in 1950 by the late premier Zhou Enlai but was persecuted severely during political campaigns after 1957.
Ma Rulong said 1956 and 1957 were the happiest years for his father because the famed musician was well treated by Zhou and could focus on his creative work.
The Ma family, including two of his three children, fled to the US via Hong Kong in 1967, where Ma died 20 years later.
Mr Ma said his father always wanted to make people happy with his music but had reached a very low point when he was declared a traitor.