Political leaders from across the spectrum were among 6,000 people who paid tribute to David Chan Yuk-cheung, who drowned during a protest swim near the Diaoyu Islands last month. A vice-director of Xinhua (the New China News Agency), Zheng Guoxiong and Secretary for Home Affairs Michael Suen Ming-yeung attended yesterday's funeral service and cremation. The ceremony climaxed when six of Chan's friends and allies on the Diaoyu expedition, including ship's captain Ngai Lup-chee, wrapped Chan's coffin in the Chinese flag. The flag, provided by Xinhua, was to be kept by Chan's wife and two children. Mr Zheng said Chan's patriotism was confirmed by the fact he had carried the five-starred flag on his ill-fated mission. Mr Suen, Legislative Council President Andrew Wong Wang-fat, Preparatory Committee vice-chairman Leung Chun-ying and Executive Councillor Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen were pallbearers. Tung Chee-hwa, vice-chairman of the Preparatory Committee and a contender for chief executive, arrived at the Hong Kong Funeral Home in Quarry Bay before 8 am. Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming, Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong chairman Tsang Yok-sing, Preparatory Committee member Maria Tam Wai-chu and Liberal Democratic Federation chairman Hu Fa-kuang also attended. The hall was decked with yellow silk and white chrysanthemums and crammed with banners and hundreds of wreaths, one from Governor Chris Patten and wife Lavender. Speakers praised Chan's bravery and patriotism and said he would always be remembered as a nationalist martyr defending his homeland. He was also hailed as a distinguished social activist who worked to ensure the territory's smooth transition. 'We will always remember you,' said friend Mak Wah-cheung. Supporters waiting outside the funeral home clapped to show respect for Chan when the hearse left for the crematorium. Chan's ashes will initially be kept in a Buddhist temple in Sha Tin. His family had asked the Chinese Government to help them scatter the ashes on the islands.