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Suicide response to China burial ban

A LOOMING prohibition on burials and the destruction of 46,000 coffins before they can be used — all part of “funeral reforms” — have triggered a spate of suicides among elderly Chinese desperate not to be cremated.

At least a dozen people in their 70s and 80s are believed to have taken their lives over recent days in a last-ditch effort to be dead and buried before June 1.

If they die before the cut-off on Sunday, they can still legally be interred. After that date, according to the draconian program in Anhui province, eastern China, the dearly departed will all be cremated.

The suicide spree has primarily affected the city of Anqing, a poor area of China whose residents have lived for centuries by the code of ru tu wei an; a belief that a soul can be at peace only if it is laid to rest in the ground.

Many Anqing residents buy their coffins decades before their deaths, spending a year's income on a casket and taking comfort from the knowledge that they will pass into the afterlife in its sumptuous embrace.

The decision to ban burials and force everyone to accept cremation is supposedly an effort to protect the region from forest fires. Because local rituals include burnt sacrifices, the risk of accidental fires during burials has supposedly increased.

In their fervour to assure the success of the reform — and to guarantee their careers in a system that does not tolerate failure — officials in Anqing have deployed a small army of hired thugs to enforce the new policy, with thousands of the pre-bought coffins seized from their horrified owners and smashed to pieces.

Some are offered derisory compensation for their coffins; others are cruelly presented with the shattered remnants to use as firewood.

One panic-stricken woman aged 88 was so determined to beat the June 1 ultimatum that she attempted suicide four times by drinking pesticide.

Another, Zheng Shifang, 83, from Luting village, was forced to watch as her fine fir-wood casket was sawn up before her eyes. She fainted, and later attempted suicide with sleeping pills. When that failed, she hanged herself.

The authorities have insisted that there is “no causal link” between the funeral reforms and the sudden spate of suicides. The families of the victims, however, disagree, many describing the dismal deaths of loved ones robbed of the last thing they had to look forward to.

The suicides have mostly come by hanging or poison.

Liu Shaolian, who paid for her $500 coffin from her meagre savings as a matchmaker, dived into the village well and drowned.

After a month-long orgy of coffin destruction, it is now estimated that just 800 caskets remain at large in Anqing, kept far from prying eyes in the homes of those desperate to hold on to their beloved contraband.

The Times
this kind of things only happen in COMMUNIST / FACIST country.

Even though I have chinese blood, I am starting to hate China men a lot.
On the contrary, I do not blame them, I blame the people that enforce them in such a way, and the policy makers.
Start out with a purpose but got twisted by its implementation.
If you can hire thugs to enforce, why not set up a registry to ensure that when people that burn things, the fire has to be put out, by sending someone to monitor the entire process?

Traditions get maintained and industry can continue. Short sighted policy makers.
this old but strong tradition belief dates back to imperial times it is believed if you don't have a proper burial if you cannot afford to pay your dues to the guardians of hell your soul will have a miserable existence in the afterlife.

that's why even today there something called coffin savings 棺材本 where people save to buy coffin for later burial and burn hell paper money presumably to pay off the hell guardians.
They lost generations of Culture during the Cultural Revolution. If we were in similar situation we may face same situation too.
A nation without religion and believes. This is made worst with single child policy. It takes time to recover.
for chinese belief the coffin is just to protect against elements and wild animals they don't want to be ridiculed wandering in the afterlife half devoured or without arms and legs. If dead is cremated then it's worse there's no more body that's why I think all the old china people panic and rush to suicide.
recently there was one case here where the dead person body was too big to push into the cremating furnance and no choice had to be buried..
I think if someone does good deeds throughout his life to the best of ability, there will surely be a proper place for him in the afterlife. The fashion of the burial is cosmetic in nature. This is of course my personal opinion only.

(31-05-2014, 07:31 AM)Life is a game Wrote: [ -> ]I think if someone does good deeds throughout his life to the best of ability, there will surely be a proper place for him in the afterlife. The fashion of the burial is cosmetic in nature. This is of course my personal opinion only.


I thought you might say the fashion of the burial is a good indicator of the afterlife experience. Cheers.