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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Tomb price hits new high

(Xinhua)

15:34, March 30, 2012

JINAN, March 30 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government's new regulations to clamp down on rocketing funeral and burial prices has prompted heated discussion online in the run-up to China's traditional day of honoring ancestors, as the public fret that the policies may have limited power to curb profiteering by morticians.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's top price regulator, and the Ministry of Civil Affairs released pricing guidelines on funeral services last weekend. It was a timely move with Tomb Sweeping Day, when online outcries over spiraling funeral expenses usually peak, falling on April 4 this year.

The new regulations soon became a hot topic on the Internet, but received only lukewarm applause. Many are pessimistic about the measures' efficiency, as they have not restored full confidence in the country's inflation-fighting credentials.

China's consumer price growth eased to 3.2 percent year-on-year in February, the lowest level in 20 months, but the prices of some vegetables rose sharply this month, triggering a fresh wave of inflation concerns.

"I don't have enough money to live or to die," read a widely-retweeted post on Sina Weibo, China's most popular Twitter-like microblogging service, after the news came out.

"The government's intention is good, but the prescription may go wrong. They should supervise more closely rather than set price caps. Or it may turn out to be counterproductive," said "Laogu" on Weibo.

The remarks were echoed by others citing fuel prices as an example. The NDRC is entitled to adjust oil prices based on movement in international markets, and its recent fuel price hike vexed cost-sensitive Internet users.

However, industry insiders noted that not all funeral items are overpriced. The overall government-regulated fees for basic services, including cremation and storage of ashes, can be as low as 500 yuan (79.3 U.S. dollars), said Ren Minjun, deputy director of Jinan Municipal Funeral Home in east China's Shandong province.

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Canada at 2012-03-3170.36.49.*
Governments in Canada make no effort to control any part of funeral prices. Cremation, & either leaving the ashes at the cremation site, or scattering them somewhere has become more popular because of sky high prices.
  

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