The police robbing coffins from peasants’ homes in Fengcheng County of Jiangxi Province, China pic.twitter.com/r6GpRLQ00I— Porter (@RealPorterHorse) July 29, 2018
Authorities of a southeast Chinese province are banning people from burying their dead loved ones in a move to preserve land. To enforce the ban, coffins were dragged out of the homes of citizens who owned them and were smashed.
Officials in Chinese province Jiangxi introduced the measure, known as the “zero-burial,” six months ago and a deadline of Sept. 01 is handed out to cities across the province to make their areas “cremation only.”
After the ban was announced, people in the province were given the opportunity to surrender their coffins that poor people had spent their lives saving up to own one. In the Jiangxi’s Gaoan County, people came forward and voluntarily gave away their coffins and as a result, more than 5,800 coffins were collected.
In other areas, officials also handed out a compensation amount of $290 so that people give up their coffins.
However, there were many people who rejected the ban and refused to give up their coffins. Authorities then carried out an operation where they forcibly removed coffins from people’s homes and crushed them.
Photos and videos of the destruction went viral on Chinese social media and people called the act “barbaric.”
The videos showed how the coffins were placed in a large ground together to be destroyed by excavators. People tried to save their coffins by lying in them but all efforts went in vain. In one incident, authorities also pulled out a corpse from a coffin as loved ones wept.
Many in China save money all their lives just to own a high-quality coffin. They then place it in their homes as a tradition as it is believed it brings longevity and good fortune.
“These coffins had been stored in ancestral halls and had been with my grandparents for more than 30 years, as they were made by carpenters using wood grown from our own land,” said a 29-year-old villager who requested to remain anonymous.
He added, “It is the worst in Jian. Not only are they confiscating coffins, but they’re also banning local burial traditions. No coffins, tombstones or paper money are allowed.”
Residents also rejected the compensation amount handed to them by the authorities because they argued it was much less than the actual cost of the coffins.
In April, authorities in the province went a step ahead and exhumed a body that had been buried despite the ban.
After the videos and extreme measures came forward, the provinces civil affairs department stepped in and issued a notice that called to “respect the dead, console the living and provide services to the public.”
The notice also said the “simplistic and extreme” measure had “hurt the feelings” of residents.
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