I read the headline, but couldn’t believe what it said, so I read it again. It didn’t didn’t seem to make a lot of sense, so I thought I had better read on, and see if I could get some clarification. It soon became clear enough. It was a problem I had anticipated some time ago, but to see how it was being solved was quite a shock!
Judge for yourselves:-
The problem of the space required for the dead was one that had been seen coming in Europe, but to see it in China was something unexpected, as looking at the map, there seems to be more than enough room for everything. This belies the facts on the ground, however, and the Chinese are taking drastic measures to alleviate the problem.
In Japan, with a tradition of cremation, the problem is minimal. In Europe, one solution has been to take the dead back to their town of origin to be buried. But for the Chinese, with a long tradition of ancestor worship, it is another matter entirely. And for a folk that could take 10 years in preparing their own coffin, such drastic change is going to be very hard.
Seeing some of the Chinese sections of a cemetery, I have often thought the the dead are better housed than the living.
All that is about to change!
“Elsewhere in China, local officials have launched campaigns to “flatten graves” to create land for farming and development.
Officials in the central province of Henan demolished 400,000 graves in 2012, local media reported. The case provoked a nationwide outcry.”
“Government officials in Anqing, a city in the eastern province of Anhui, ordered that all locals who die after 1 June should be cremated, the Beijing News daily reported.”
It would have been kinder to phase in this change over a period of years, rather than at two month’s notice, but kindness seems to be in short supply where politics is concerned.
Those Chinese who are concerned about the environment can take some solace from the knowledge that their “footprint” will be reduced to practically zero.
I first wrote about this in 2011 – see “Lets call a spade, a spade!”
“By the way, I am told by reliable sources that dying without giving prior notice will soon be made an offence. The reason for this is obvious enough, I am sure. We are running out of graveyards! The one viable alternative – cremation – cannot be used because of our on-going energy crisis, and air-burials are completely out of the question. Lets be realistic – where do we find enough vultures to do the job in the middle of Brussels, Paris or London? (And they always leave the bones behind!).”
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