The grieving widow of a street hawker executed last week for killing two urban management officers said she would continue to seek justice for her husband after his funeral in Shenyang, Liaoning province.
More than 100 people, many of them sympathetic internet users, attended the funeral yesterday to support her and the son of hawker Xia Junfeng, whose execution has sparked grief and anger across the nation.
The two held Xia's ashes and his photograph as they made their way to a suburban cemetery. Family members and supporters followed.
"I didn't expect there to be so many people this morning. I didn't get to talk to each of them," Xia's widow Zhang Jing said. "I'm very touched that they came. I'm very sad and tired from all that has happened.
"Many of them came over and showed their support for me and Xia Junfeng," she said, adding she would continue her husband's fight. "I will spend a few quiet days with my son at my home to come to terms with this, but I won't stop pursuing justice."
In May 2009, Xia and his wife were selling roasted sausages in Shenyang when officers seized him, took him to their office and beat him. Xia took out a knife and killed two officers and wounded a third. He was convicted of intentional homicide and sentenced to death in November 2009.
The Supreme People's Court approved Xia's death sentence last week and he was executed on Wednesday. The decision prompted widespread debate and was compared to the more lenient sentence imposed on disgraced Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai's wife Gu Kailai , who was convicted of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood, but given a suspended death sentence.
Hours ahead of Xia's funeral, the court issued a statement disputing Xia's self-defence claim.
Prominent activists and dissidents, including Hu Jia and Zhang Kun , were also on hand for the funeral. Zhang wrote on his microblog: "We drove more than 600 kilometres to Shenyang. Because we feared there would be unexpected situations, we slept in the car and arrived at Xia's home at dawn."
Undercover police were present but took no action and the ceremony went smoothly, the widow said.
Hundreds of internet users offered elegies for Xia. One picked by the family said: "Summer's gone and autumn reigns, winter will strike and spring will follow; a mountain is standing tall in the dark night, and flowers will blossom then."
The poem used the same Chinese character for mountain, feng, found in Xia's given name.