Li Zhao is best known in China as the wife of the 1980s liberal reformer Hu Yaobang, who held the country's highest office as general secretary of the Communist Party – until being forced out. It was his death in 1989 that famously sparked the Tiananmen Square student protests.
One of the female pioneers of communist China, Li Zhao joined the revolution as a 16-year-old in 1937. After her father was killed at an anti-Japanese occupation rally, she took inspiration from the classical Chinese legend Mulan and disguised herself as a man – even shaving her head – to travel alone the long and dangerous road to Yanan.
She was laid to rest at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery on Friday, in an ancient hall reserved for Communism's heroes with unblemished careers. Hu hadn't been buried here. But on Friday the white floral wreaths included those from Xi and Premier Li Keqiang.
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