The body of Li Guizhen, who died last week from contact with chemical weapons left in China by Japanese invaders during World War II, was cremated on Tuesday.
Officials dealing with the aftermath of the mustard gas leak, Li's relatives and people from Qiqihar city attended the funeral.
Li had made a living collecting and selling discarded materials in the city of Qiqihar. On the morning of August 4, he spent 200 yuan (US$24.1) buying five gas cylinders at Beijiang (Northern Frontier) Residential Quarters and carted them to a discarded materials collection center in the vicinity.
At the center, Li removed lead and copper fastenings from the ends of the cylinders. During the removal, dark oil-like substances from two of the cylinders gushed out and spilled all over his body. The oil-like substances were later confirmed to be highly toxic mustard gas.
Li was diagnosed on August 4 to have 95 percent burns over his body, including his eyes and respiratory system, said doctors with the No. 203 Hospital of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), where he was treated.
Medical personnel tried hard to save him, using the best treatment available, but he failed to respond because of the severe harm done to him by the deadly gas.
Hospital sources said that Li, a transient from central China's Henan Province, succumbed to death as a result of a failure of multiple organs.
Li Guoxiong, the father of Li Guizhen, has demanded compensation from the Japanese government.
He has agreed to donate the body of his son to the No. 203 Hospital of the PLA, where his son had received medical treatment, for medical research.
Li Guoxiong demanded the Japanese government compensate him in seven ways, including fees for supporting his son's wife and parents from both sides, for rearing his son's children, for loss of income, emotional distress, burial costs, and transportation of his son's relatives for the funeral.
A total of 43 people were hospitalized after coming into contact with the poisonous mustard gas from the chemical weapons.
(Xinhua News Agency August 27, 2003)