Online funeral being promoted in China

13:53, March 27, 2010      

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Holding a memorial ceremony for your deceased beloved ones online is being discussed by the Chinese public ahead of the traditional Qingming Festival that falls on April 5 this year when people will offer sacrifices to their ancestors and sweep the tombs of the deceased.

Zhu Yong, deputy director of a research institute under the Ministry of Civil Affairs, told a recent forum in Beijing that the new type of green funeral and interment was a worldwide trend, which avoided waste of social and natural resources.

Usually, cremains are not kept for online funerals. Instead, a portrait of the deceased and pictures of the farewell party and elegiac couplets, and eulogy are put online for relatives and friends to commemorate. A virtual cemetery is also set up on the Internet.

Zhu said the green concept of interment was popular in countries like Australia and New Zealand where some online gravestones were simply of name card size.

This kind of funeral suits China because of the country's "sparse land and huge population," he said.

However, the convention that only "burial brings peace to the deceased" still influenced the Chinese public, and they could not accept online funerals immediately.

Zhu suggested more policies be made to encourage the "green burial" concept.

Vice Minister of Civil Affairs Dou Yupei said more regions in China had cremation instead of inhumation, and more people preferred cremation which saved land and wood resources.

"More members of the public are willing to remove undesirable funeral customs and transform some traditions," Dou said.

He said efforts would be made to reduce the financial burden of people in preparing funerals and promote more ecological ways of interment.

Source: Xinhua
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