New rules forcing the process of cremation have caused a lot of unrest amongst China’s old and aged population.

A notice issued by the Anqing government on March 25, 2014 said that starting from June 1, 2014 all corpses must be cremated (burning of the deceased’s body).

Traditional Chinese  funeral customs dictate that after a person’s death their body be prepared for burial. However the actual burial of the body is takes place several days after the death. In a lot of villages corpses in coffins are laid by the hill side for three years before being buried. It is believed that this custom entails good luck for the deceased’s kin.

The issue with this traditional custom is that of land usage. More burials meaning more land requirement, a resource that is scarce for the densely populated country of China.

Thus, the government has been pushing for funeral reforms and cremation for the past few decades. Land use concerns since the 1950’s have prompted China’s government to push for cremation. The national cremation rate reached nearly 50 percent in 2012.

The Anqing government  had announced funeral reforms in 1994 and 2006, but both were unsuccessful because of strong support from residents.

What’s creating a stir are the alleged suicides of six elderly people, these suicides are claimed to be in response to the new cremation law. Reports claim that the six deceased wished for their bodies to be buried and thus committed suicide so that their bodies could be buried legally in coffins.


However the authorities say that there isn’t any connection with the alleged suicides by the elderly residents and the burial reforms which say that the corpses must be cremated. Investigations were conducted by the Anqing government after the suicide allegations. It was found that the deaths do not have anything to do with the funeral reform.

An official from Anqing publicity department said, “The newspaper’s report is biased, as it cited no genuine facts, and some of the quotes are just the reporter’s guesses”. The new rule has been criticised by some of the older citizens in the area who are in their 80s and 90s while the younger residents have taken the reform with greater ease.”

Photo Credits: MSN


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