Party calls for end to high-cost fu­ner­als for of­fi­cials

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By REUTERS

Mem­bers of the Com­mu­nist Party of China and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have to have sim­ple fu­ner­als with­out any “feu­dal” or “su­per­sti­tious” el­e­ments, the gov­ern­ment said on Thurs­day, as the Party tries to curb ex­trav­a­gance.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping or­dered the crack­down late last year when he be­came Party chief, seek­ing to as­suage pub­lic anger at waste and ex­trav­a­gance.

Hav­ing al­ready taken aim at ev­ery­thing from banquets to bribes, the Party has now turned its at­ten­tion to fu­ner­als.

The gov­ern­ment said that there had been a re­turn to “bad habits” for some of­fi­cials, with “feu­dal and su­per­sti­tious ac­tiv­i­ties mak­ing a resur­gence”, in­clud­ing a fall in the num­ber of cre­ma­tions, the build­ing of or­nate mau­soleums and hold­ing of ex­trav­a­gant fu­ner­als.

This “dam­ages the im­age of the Party and the gov­ern­ment, and harms so­cial morals”, the gov­ern­ment said in a state­ment on its main web­site www.gov. cn.

Cre­ma­tions have been en­cour­aged by the Party as a way to save much needed agri­cul­tural land in the world’s most pop­u­lous coun­try.

In tra­di­tional Chi­nese cul­ture, the dead are sup­posed to be ac­com­pa­nied by the liv­ing in the first few days af­ter death, lead­ing to mourn­ers set­ting up tents where peo­ple can gather in front of the body and a shrine.

Fu­ner­als can be lav­ish af­fairs, com­plete with hun­dreds of mourn­ers and elab­o­rate rit­u­als, cus­toms still fol­lowed by some over­seas Chi­nese .

The gov­ern­ment said such prac­tices had to stop in China.

“Party mem­bers and of­fi­cials have to proac­tively pro­mote fu­neral re­form, and guide fam­ily mem­bers, friends and the masses, to pre­vent bad fu­neral habits in a timely way and stop ... feu­dal and su­per­sti­tious ac­tiv­i­ties.”

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