CHINA / National

China bans tomb-sweepers' "vulgar" burned offerings
Updated: 2006-04-25 21:25

China has banned its citizens from burning paper models of condoms, luxury villas and karaoke hostesses when paying respect at the graves of their ancestors.

Many Chinese burn paper money as a sacrificial rite to honor deceased relatives, but economic development has brought more unusual tokens of gifts for the after-life.

Now, anxious to curtail a modern version of what they see as feudal superstition, the authorities have issued new funeral and internment regulations that include fining citizens who burn "vulgar" offerings, a Chinese newspaper reported Tuesday.

"The burning of luxury villas, sedan cars, mistresses and other messy sacrificial items ... will be investigated and punished," the Beijing News quoted Dou Yupei, deputy secretary of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, as saying.

Over the last two years officials have discovered people burning paper offerings of the potency drug Viagra, extra-marital mistresses and even "Supergirls" -- dolls modeled on winning contestants of Chinese television's hugely popular American Idol spin-off, Mongolian Cow Sour Milk Supergirl.

"The tomb-sweepers' feelings are understandable," said Dou. "But burning these messy things -- not only is it mired in feudal superstition, but it just appears low and vulgar."

The new regulations follow reports earlier this month of authorities calling for people to honor relatives online through special Web sites' virtual memorial halls.