China’s funeral reforms seek to save space

Beijing, Feb 25 (IANS) Families will be encouraged to share same tombs, and ecologically friendly funerals will be promoted over the next five years in China, under a guideline designed to save land resources, the media reported on Thursday.

The guideline, issued by nine departments on Wednesday, including the ministry of civil affairs and national development and reform Commission, said the country will further promote eco-friendly funerals, including sea burials and tree funerals – where ashes are buried and a tree is planted on the spot, the China Daily reported.

The guideline said burials that take up little or no land will be promoted in the next five years. In densely populated areas, authorities will promote vertical burials, including ways to store cremated remains in buildings, walls or towers.

The authorities will also encourage the use of smaller tombs and tombstones. Funerals that leave no ashes of the deceased will be promoted, it said.

The country’s cremation rate declined to 49.5 percent in 2012 from 53 percent in 2005 because of resistance from the general public, according to the ministry.

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