Chinese province, Jiangxi destroys over 1000 coffins to discourage graveyard burial
It is a tradition of some old people in China to save money when they are healthy to buy their own coffin. They even celebrate when they get it. It is believed that this brings longevity and happiness
#hainan( Twitter Jana Rodriguez Hertz@janarhertz
London, August 3, 2018 (AltAfrica)-WAILING cries and impassioned tears met bulldozers and angry officials in the Chinese province of Jiangxi as a campaign to phase out burials found a very real face.
Aiming to reduce the space needed for graveyards and to discourage people from spending excessive amounts on ornate coffins, the Jiangxi has been pushing burial reform. They are not the first to try this, with the unusual exercise being touted across China.
Jiangxi, however, took a rather heavy-handed approach. Collecting all of the coffins in the region, including those already bought and paid for, the authorities set about destroying them.
In video footage from the seizure, a woman is seen sobbing on the floor and an elderly man climbs into his coffin, and having to be forcibly removed by officials.
The authorities are pushing for people to favour cremation over the traditional burial to reach a target of having all dead be cremated by Sept 1. But the burial process is steeped in tradition in China and convincing people to forego these rites can be difficult.
Authorities have been trying for decades to move people away from ground burials as China’s population boomed to now 1.4 billion.
As far back as the 50s, Chairman Mao Zedong was pushing the message that traditional funeral traditions were a “feudal superstition.” But even he opted for embalming upon his death.
Past campaigns to prevent ground burials have ended in tragedy, highlighting the importance placed on traditions by China’s aged population.
In 2014, officials in Anqing city in Anhui province ordered that all those who die after June 1 must be cremated. This strict cut-off date was thought to be behind a spate of suicides among the city’s elderly wanting to ensure they died before the new regulations came into force.
This is far from the only attempt to maximise space. In 2016, governmental departments issued new guidelines for burials that included spreading ashes at sea and even vertical burial.
A year earlier, the government even hosted a cremation competition pitting 50 of the country’s top cremators against one another in a challenge demonstrating their technical skills and diligence.
While the overzealous local officials in Jiangxi have received a telling off and been advised to handle future attempts with more consideration, the practice isn’t going away.
During an event last month, Liu Qi, the provincial governor and Communist Party secretary, said that burial reform would “break 1,000-year” customs and “benefit the nation, the people and future generations,” according to a summary of his comments in The Jiangxi Daily, and reported by the New York Times.
He encouraged officials to “conscientiously implement the central government’s requirements and closely focus on the goal of funerals that benefit the people, are green and civilised.”
Read more at https://asiancorrespondent.com/2018/08/china-is-running-out-of-space-to-bury-its-dead/#zGySM4tiCWgtasIz.99