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The downward trend for cremations in China may begin to reverse following a plan to cut or waive funeral expenses for poor households that choose cremation.
Li Bo, deputy director of the Ministry of Civil Affair's social affairs department, told a news conference on Monday that qualified families will enjoy a cut or waiver of fees including for corpse transportation, cremation and ash storage for a year.
About 4.3 million cremations were registered in 2011, said He Qingxun, director of the division of funeral and interment management under the ministry's social affairs department.
That is 48 percent of all registered deaths. It was 53 percent in 2005.
The Chinese government started to promote cremation in 1956.
A man burns incense to honor relatives at a cemetery in Shanghai on Sunday. Yong Kai / for China Daily