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Deceased not resting in peace during urbanization boom (3)

By Yang Jinghao (Global Times)

09:55, March 29, 2012

Tradition ignored

The deceased are usually buried in nearby mountains with good feng shui that is believed to bring a guarantee of blessings to the descendants.

Gao Wei, secretary-general of the Beijing Folk Art Association, said that Chinese worship their ancestors and thank the deceased for what they acquired and pray for blessings.

"Despite minor differences on some customs in different areas, their respect for their ancestors is consistent," said Gao. "People treat the tombs as residences in the afterworld for those that have gone before and protection of the tombs should be taken seriously."

It is also commonly accepted tombs cannot be moved at discretion, and if the removal becomes a necessity, a series of traditional rituals have to be performed.
Deng said tomb relocation usually take places during Qingming Festival, especially ancestral ones. As well, ceremonies are supposed to be the same as those at funerals, including setting off firecrackers, libations and letting of rooster blood, among others.

"We don't oppose the building of a public park, but what authorities have done is inconsiderate and totally in violation of our traditions," said Deng. "We may resort to legal means to solve the matter."

A clan with more than 40 members in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, brought a real estate developer to court years ago after two ancestral tombs were destroyed with the ossuaries and skeletons missing, the Guangzhou-based Information Times reported in November, 2011.

A verdict from Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court said that commemoration of ancestors is a traditional virtue for Chinese and the developer's deed took away the family's right to commemorate their ancestors and thus caused them mental anguish. The company was ordered to compensate them 20,000 yuan ($3,176) and an apology.

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