Exiled dissident Wang Xizhe might not be allowed to attend his father's funeral in Guangzhou because of the tense political atmosphere at home, his wife said yesterday. 'As there is no sign of any relaxation in the current tension, I think his chance of being allowed to come back is quite small,' Mr Wang's wife Su Jiang said, referring to the recent arrests of dissidents. Mr Wang's 80-year-old father, Wang Zhongxuan, died in a Guangzhou hospital on Saturday following a long illness. Ms Su said her husband had been told by a diplomat at the Chinese consulate in New York it would consider his application for a permit to return home. The family could only delay his father's funeral until next Monday as hospitals normally kept bodies for no more than 10 days. Wang Xizhe, 50, fled to the United States via Hong Kong in October 1996, a few days after signing a declaration urging political freedom and the impeachment of President Jiang Zemin. The dissident had been released from jail on parole in early 1993 after serving nearly 12 years of a 14-year sentence for counter-revolutionary activities. Wang Xizhe recently caused a storm within activist circles by publicly criticising dissident Wei Jingsheng at a US Congress hearing on human rights in China.