China / Society

Kunming dead make their final journeys home

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-03-07 22:33

KUNMING -- Yang Heliang's final journey home stopped by the river that runs by the threshold of his home village in Honghe Yi ethnic prefecture, in southwest Yunnan province.

Originally from Chegu village in Honghe, Yang, 21, a junior student, worked as an intern in Kunming. He was seeing friend at off at Kunming station when he was killed in the terror attack a week ago. His body was cremated on March 4.

Yi tradition says those who die in other lands,and who are not married, cannot be taken home for their funeral. Yang's remains will stay on the Kunming side of the river.

"I hope the government will scatter his ashes where there is a mountain, a river and trees," said Yang's uncle, Li Xinsheng. "Kunming is a big city and it's the place where he lost his life, so we let him stay there."

His parents took home his certificate of merit and ID card. Apart from the ID card, they burned all his belongings.

"Nothing of the boy was kept. Part of the reason is tradition, but we don't want our sorrow to be evoked while by the sight of his things," said his uncle Yang Shuoqian.

Yang was scheduled to graduate next year and become an accountant.

"We srimped and saved to afford your tuition, but you have left us alone." On the ground, Li Huanong, the boy's mother, wails. The family now only have Yang's disabled older brother. Yang was their only hope for a change in their lives, but those dreams ended on March 1.

The slashings and stabbings at Kunming station happened at night, and came without any warning. After a few frenzied minutes, 29 people lay dead or dying and 143 others were injured.

Yang's funeral was held at the riverside on Thursday, with parents and relatives burning incense and chanting for his soul. They hope his soul will cross the Lethe, the river of oblivion that was believed to flow in the underworld, leaving his sorrows in the water as he is reborn.

Kunming dead make their final journeys home
Kunming dead make their final journeys home

Ceremony held in Kunming for attack victims

 In photos:Terror attack in Kunming


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