殡葬改革(bìnzàng gǎigé): Funeral and interment system reform
The Ministry of Civil Affairs has released a draft funeral and interment management regulation, which says China will establish a basic funeral and interment service system to provide basic funeral and interment services, such as transportation of the body, cremation and storage of ashes.
The government will decide the price for these basic funeral and interment services, and adjust it later if needed.
As the first major revision of the funeral and interment management regulation issued 21 years ago, this is a significant reform.
The draft aims to improve the basic funeral and interment services to protect public interests. It also aims to safeguard the dignity of the departed.
The draft regulation doesn't advocate a single or uniform funeral or interment method. Instead, it provides several options including sea burial, tree burial and government-funded ashes storage, and leaves the choice to the family members of the departed.
The draft stipulates that the government will regulate the cost of funeral ceremonies irrespective of whether they are held at public-funded or privately run funeral homes. It also advances to increase the supply of funeral and interment products.
More importantly, the draft promotes cultured funeral and interment methods and emphasizes the local governments' responsibility for supervising the funeral and interment industry.