Chinese Vice President attends Lee Kuan Yew's funeral
Updated: 2015-03-29 19:56
Pallbearers adjust the national flag of Singapore covering the coffin of the late Lee Kuan Yew during a state funeral held at the University Cultural Center, March 29, 2015, in Singapore. [Photo/IC]
Joining 2,200 guests, including world leaders from more than 20 countries, China's Vice President Li Yuanchao attended the funeral of Singapore's founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew on Sunday at the Universal Cultural Center of the National University of Singapore.
Before the state funeral started at 2 pm and despite heavy rain, thousands of Singaporeans waited along the major streets for the final farewell to Lee. People with tears in their eyeswaved the national flag and called out Lee's name when the funeral cortege passed.
Officials said more than 450,000 people had paid their last respects to the 91-year-old, who served as prime minister for 31 years, before the public wake ended in parliament on Saturday night.
Lee also received a 21-gun salute, an honor usually reserved for sitting heads of state.
As a special envoy of President Xi Jinping, Li carried a message from Xi to Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, saying that Lee Kuan Yew is not only the founder of Singapore, but also is well respected as a politician and strategist in the international community.
Xi said Lee was an old friend of Chinese people, and a respected wise man and elder.
"As the founder, pioneer and promoter of the China-Singapore relationship, Mr Lee Kuan Yew and the older generation of Chinese leaders charted the development of the bilateral relationship, and made significant contribution towards the cooperation and friendship between two countries and two peoples," Xi said in his message.