Opinion / Opinion Line

Monopoly on funeral services needs to break

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-03-30 07:45

Monopoly on funeral services needs to break

Employees display their makeup skills on a model at a funeral expo in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, in November. Li Xi / for China Daily

A recent report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the 101 Institute of Ministry of Civil Affairs shows that the average cost of a funeral in Beijing has reached 42,837 yuan ($6,892.5), and many residents jokingly complain that they "cannot afford to die". Comments:

The abnormally high prices for funerals have much to do with the government monopoly of the industry. The companies that provide funeral services are both State agencies and profit-seekers in the market, which leaves hardly any bargaining space for ordinary residents. The monopoly must be broken first in order to make funerals more affordable for ordinary people.

Xinhua Daily Telegraph, March 27

It is mainly the high-end cemeteries, located in places considered "good" according to superstitious beliefs, that push up the cost of dying. Actually, some of the cemeteries for local residents in Beijing are affordable to families with ordinary incomes. The key to lowering the cost of funerals lies in popularizing the idea of simple funerals and giving up superstition.

Beijing News, March 26

The Beijing Bureau of Civil Affairs has done a good move by responding to the issue, yet their response has been cold and without support. There have long been complaints about the domestic funeral industry, which charges unreasonably high prices and offers bad services that do not match them. How can officials say "the problem does not exist"? They are shirking their responsibilities., March 27

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