People in Beijing Rethink Their Burial Customs

More and more Beijingers are abandoning their traditional views of what to do with the remains of the death, said Liu Baocheng, director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs Tuesday.

"I hope, after death, my ashes can be laid under trees or flowers to save valuable land and reduce environmental pollution," said Yang Yunjuan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Municipal People's Congress of Beijing.

Various new methods of disposing of the ashes of the dead have been introduced in Beijing, including burial under trees, storage in multi-level cemeteries and spreading them on the sea.

China's first ever ash garden, Siqinyuan, was established last month in Fengtai District in Beijing. In the 15-hectare garden, ashes are buried among 150,000 flowers and 8,000 trees and in a 3-hectare lawn.

Meanwhile, the municipal government is seeking a stronger legal basis to ensure the regular management of funeral and interment procedures.

A draft of the amendment to Beijing's local regulation on funeral management has been submitted to the Standing Committee of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress and was discussed Tuesday at a regular conference.

The original regulations were put into effect in 1996 and need to be improved to meet the changing situation, said Liu.

(China Daily 06/20/2001)

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