A Chinese Communist Party official will be the first emperor to be formally laid to rest in China, with his coffin draped in a huge banner emblazoned with the words “Prelude for the Chinese Revolution”.
The banner was unveiled by Communist Party secretary general Yang Jiechi at a ceremony in Xi’an, a city in central China’s Hunan province, on Saturday, in a move widely expected to usher in a period of political turbulence ahead of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 2022.
“The banner is a sign of respect and dignity for our country’s emperor,” Yang said at the ceremony, which was attended by several dozen people.
Yang was speaking as he announced that a Chinese Communist leadership committee had approved the first-ever burial for the late Emperor Hu Jintao, who died in December 2022.
The announcement of Hu’s death marks a significant milestone in the reign of China’s first emperor and a milestone for the Communist Party, which has sought to modernise the country’s economy in the face of rising power rivals.
The coronavirus pandemic has been the worst on record in China and has forced tens of millions of people to flee the country.
The deaths of hundreds of senior Communist Party leaders, including Hu and Xi, has sparked protests across the country, with thousands of protesters being arrested.
In the months since the coronaviruses pandemic, some 200,000 people have been killed, and millions have been forced from their homes.
In a recent interview with the BBC, former President Hu Jinsong said the party was facing a crisis that he described as the “most grave” he had seen in his lifetime.
“It is really a crisis, but it’s also a crisis for the leadership,” he said.
China’s Communist Party has been under pressure to tackle the coronas pandemic.
Last week, Chinese authorities announced that Hu’s corpse will be placed inside a coffin made of bronze and decorated with a red rose on the grounds of the Great Hall of the Communist Youth League, the main centre for the party’s youth, next to the Great Wall of China.
It has been reported that the coffin will have a silver-and-gold-plated canopy and be surrounded by flowers.
China has struggled to contain the spread of the coronovirus and is struggling to contain its economic woes.
It is also facing growing criticism for the treatment of migrant workers and their rights to travel and work.