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Chinese experts help to embalm Cambodian king

PHNOM PENH -- Cambodia began preparations on Thursday to embalm its revered former king Norodom Sihanouk, who will lie in state at the palace for three months ahead of a lavish funeral, a royal aide said.

Chinese experts are helping with the process, which is expected to be similar to the one used to preserve the body of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong in the 1970s, according to Sihanouk's assistant Prince Sisowath Thomico.

“Now the doctors, the scientists are just preparing the body of the king to preserve it,” Thomico told AFP.

Hundreds of thousands of mourners packed the streets of Phnom Penh on Wednesday to witness Sihanouk's final journey home from Beijing where he died on Monday of a heart attack aged 89.

Throughout the months that Sihanouk's body will be on view at the palace before it is cremated, groups of relatives will take turns to sit with him, ensuring that the late royal is never alone, according to his aide.

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