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Low-key funeral planned without foreign leaders

The funeral committee charged with arranging the funeral of Deng Xiaoping declared a six-day period of mourning yester-day. It said a memorial meeting, attended by 10,000 people, would be held on Tuesday at the Great Hall of the People at which Deng's ashes will be scattered rather than saved. Foreign leaders will not attend.

The committee released a letter which Deng's widow, Zhuo Lin, and his five children sent to the President, Jiang Zemin. "The last thing that we do for Comrade Xiaoping should embody his spirit and character, and our grief should be expressed in the simplest, solemnest way," the letter said. The family noted Deng's request that his organs be used for research and his eyes for transplant.

What strikes many Peking residents today as unimaginable is the notion that Deng's passing will lead to turmoil, demonstrations, or any sort of open power struggle.

"Deng's death will not have the slightest impact. Jiang Zemin already has everything arranged, and nobody is about to start a protest. What would they protest about? Just to make a fuss? Nothing will happen," predicted a Peking resident in his 40s.

Indeed, by the end of the day, there was little to suggest that Jiang Zemin's careful arrangements were in immediate danger of unravelling. In what China's paranoid security forces must consider fortuitous timing, students at Peking's historically volatile universities are on holiday until Monday.

Still, police are taking nothing for granted. One student who has spent the holiday on campus at Peking University said a police acquaintance sought to question him yesterday about any actions being planned by students for next week when school resumes.

On the Avenue of Eternal Peace, technicians could be seen tending to a surveillance camera, perhaps hoping to ensure that the thoroughfare lives up to its name.

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